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#1 OFFLINE   Hedon James

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 06:33 PM

Directed specifically to Sunrat & SecurityBreach, but I don't want to assume others won't have ideas/solutions.

Background - I've repurposed an older Dell Vostro dual core as a dedicated DAW workstation, although I primarily just use Ardour.  Actually, I'm a former Cubase user on WinXP, but I'm trying to switch over to OSS offerings and Ardour certainly seems capable.  I used a Lexicon Omega for input to the Cubase software and the Omega seems to work perfectly fine with Linux and Ardour.  But it's almost 15 years old and the indicator lights on the face are always on, and provide false visual readings.  I've looked into having it serviced, but service costs more than the original purchase, and Lexicon doesn't make Omegas anymore.  Realizing it's just a matter of time, I've done my homework and settled on a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6.  Confirmed to "just work" with Linux and getting rave reviews from those that own one.  Besides looking quite sexy in its brushed red aluminum casing, it's built like a tank...I could throw this against the wall in a fit of frustration and only end up with a drywall repair.  :devil:

I've finally hooked it up and it does seem to work with Linux and Ardour, but I don't have 4 simultaneous inputs, like with the Omega, only 2.  Reading the fine manual, it appears that the internal routing is changeable by installing the Focusrite Control software....proprietary and for Windows ONLY.  No problem, install it in my Windows VM and use the hardware/software just like I do with the Omega and Cubase in my Windows VM.  That combo works just fine once I "capture" the Omega in the VirtualBox VM.  I've done the same with iPods & iTunes, Zunes and Zune Music Manager, etc...  But I CANNOT get the Focusrite Control software to "see" the device.  Drivers are installed with the Focusrite Software...Windows "sees" the device, and the Focusrite hardware is listed in the device manager and in sound settings.  I have tried different USB ports, uninstalling, re-installing, and re-initializing...all with the same result.  I've duplicated these actions in a Win7 AND a Win10 machine in an attempt to isolate differences there.  No satisfaction...Focusrite Control STILL reports "no hardware found".  I have no "native" Windows installs in my house, so I borrowed a friends laptop with Win10 and installed Focusrite Control and drivers and...TADA...everything works as Focusrite advertises it should.  I can only conclude this is an issue with the proprietary Focusrite Control software and the way it responds in a VM.

Sunrat - Have you ever experienced anything like this?  I bought the Focusrite 6 months ago, but due to my planned move, I just left it in the box until now, secure in the knowledge that it "just works" in Linux.  I learned a LONG time ago that sometimes the solution to Linux problems is different hardware...but now that I'm into a $250 piece of hardware beyond the exchange/refund deadline, I'd like to figure out how to cope.  Any similar experiences, and how did you resolve?

SB - Assuming my issue is indeed related somehow to the way the Focusrite drivers react with VirtualBox VMs, perhaps a "bare metal" Virtual Machine is the way to go?  I seem to remember you mentioning that your VMs are bare metal installations (Qemu?), but I don't know anything about that.  What are your thoughts?  Worth pursuing or likely to end up in the same place as my current VirtualBox situation, for reasons I don't understand yet?  If worthwhile, how about a quick primer on "bare metal" VM installations?  Or perhaps a HowToForge tutorial?

Any thoughts or advice from anyone not named Sunrat or SecurityBreach will also be considered, BTW!  Thanks in advance!

#2 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 07:27 PM

Well I hate to say it but I have not heard of or know anything about Focusrite. As far as VMs go, these may help

https://www.youtube....h?v=Yh_3sgXtl0Q
https://mudongliang....-in-ubuntu.html

Have you tried installing a windows vm to see if the hardware shows up? I did find this thread (look at page 2 and 3): https://linuxmusicia...5e1874&start=15

https://linuxmusicia...pic.php?t=17108

It looks like it is possible to get the Focusrite working on linux (ubuntu): https://help.ubuntu....tedHardware#USB
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#3 OFFLINE   Hedon James

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:22 PM

To clarify, the Focusrite is USB standard-compliant (whatever that means) and it DOES work with Linux.  However, it is advertised to have 4 simultaneous inputs, but I'm only seeing 2 in ardour.  The manual seems to suggest that I need to reconfigure the internal routing for 4 simultaneous inputs.  This is what the proprietary windows-only Focusrite Control is for.

I do have it installed in a Win7 and a Win10 Virtual box VM.  See above...

Edited by Hedon James, 15 February 2018 - 08:23 PM.


#4 OFFLINE   sunrat

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 11:10 PM

Reported to work well. Apparently, as you noted, you need to boot Windows and set 'route audio directly' in Focusrite Control. Then it should work in Linux.
https://community.ar....org/node/14390
There is also an Ardour mailing list that can be really helpful.

I only have an ancient, as in bought 2nd hand 14 years ago, M-Audio Audiophile 2496 with a separate Soundcraft mixer. Still works great. ;)
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#5 OFFLINE   Hedon James

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 10:56 AM

Hmmmm...good find Sunrat!  Looks like I can borrow the laptop and use Focusrite Control to "route audio directly", and settings will persist until/unless I need them changed again.  I don't know what I don't know, yet, but that sounds like it would work for me?!  Gotta start somewhere right?

#6 OFFLINE   Hedon James

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 11:19 AM

SB...a question re: KVM/qemu VMs...since the virtualization is "bare metal", what are the rules for hardware sharing?  For instance, in VB one cannot allocate more than 50% of RAM to guest or the host becomes unstable...a "top heavy" stack that crashes.  And video memory is typically capped at 128mb, but can be maxed to 256mb with the proper combo of selections.

Does KVM care about RAM allocation?  If it's a bare metal VM then I assume it's side-by-side with main OS and not a vertical stack?  In my 32GB system RAM, could I allocate 20GB to my VM and leave only 12GB to my native primary OS?  (Making sure not to exceed physical RAM).

With respect to video memory, i setup my daughter with a Win10 virtual box VM on her Ubuntu machine.  While her professor is quite impressed that she uses Linux and GIMP proficiently, her DigiCom/Graphic Design coursework requires her to use the Adobe suite, which necessitates Windows.  A Win10 VM was sufficient to accommodate her underclassman coursework, but her upperclassmen assignments are much more challenging and require much more RAM and CPUs.  Adobe recommends a 512mb video men but virtual box maxes out at 256mb, rendering her Win10 VM crippled and often useless.  Would a KVM bare metal VM allow her to skirt that issue and access the 512mb she needs...or even 1024mb to speed up her graphic rendering?

Color me intrigued to learn more!

#7 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 01:47 PM

Well, you still have to allocate cpu cores and ram to the VM. Also, certain things like your GPU will not be "bare metal" unless you do GPU passthrough:
https://wiki.archlin...hrough_via_OVMF
https://medium.com/@...ugh-7c395dde5c2
https://ubuntuforums...d.php?t=2320369
https://github.com/g...pci-passthrough

it is possible but does look a bit involved. It would be a neat project to try out. Currently I do not have any window's vms to test it on but I could install and test if you want me to.
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#8 OFFLINE   Hedon James

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 10:38 AM

It looks like a 2nd GPU is required.  Not gonna happen in her laptop.  We've been talking about building her a beast of a desktop workstation with Windows.

Her chosen field will REQUIRE the use of Adobe products, only available on Windows and OSX platforms.  Drawing on her experience of converting her iTunes puchases to remove DRM and move to other devices, she's no fan of Apple's vendor lock-in policies.  Apparently she was paying attention?!  That's my girl!

#9 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 10:49 AM

View PostHedon James, on 17 February 2018 - 10:38 AM, said:

It looks like a 2nd GPU is required.  Not gonna happen in her laptop.  We've been talking about building her a beast of a desktop workstation with Windows.

You sure as I do not remember you needing two or them?
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#10 OFFLINE   sunrat

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 05:31 PM

I'd be dual booting to run heavy duty programs like Adobe. Occasionally I do recordings at work and boot into Windows to run Reaper or Waves Tracks Live. There are DAWs that run perfectly in Linux, but the Digico UB MADI interface we use doesn't have a Linux driver. And I'm not going to personally invest in 48 channels of interfaces just to use Linux. ;)
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#11 OFFLINE   Hedon James

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 11:03 AM

View Postsecuritybreach, on 17 February 2018 - 10:49 AM, said:

View PostHedon James, on 17 February 2018 - 10:38 AM, said:

It looks like a 2nd GPU is required.  Not gonna happen in her laptop.  We've been talking about building her a beast of a desktop workstation with Windows.

You sure as I do not remember you needing two or them?

I'm not sure, but that is what I gathered from reading links you provided.  It looks like a GPU must be allocated, and I read about using an APU and a discrete GPU, which I interpreted as a requirement.  If I'm wrong, it's still perhaps an option; but if it's a requirement, her computer is a laptop and a 2nd GPU isn't gonna happen.

#12 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 11:12 AM

Look at this project: https://virgil3d.github.io
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#13 OFFLINE   Hedon James

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 11:30 AM

View Postsunrat, on 17 February 2018 - 05:31 PM, said:

I'd be dual booting to run heavy duty programs like Adobe. Occasionally I do recordings at work and boot into Windows to run Reaper or Waves Tracks Live. There are DAWs that run perfectly in Linux, but the Digico UB MADI interface we use doesn't have a Linux driver. And I'm not going to personally invest in 48 channels of interfaces just to use Linux. ;)

That's what she's doing now, but she hates dual-booting.  She's heavily invested in the Linux ecosystem and Linux softwares, so she spends a LOT of time in the Ubuntu OS and utilized her Win VM as needed, like any other piece of software.  But as projects have increased in scope and complexity, computing requirements have increased commensurately.  She's got a fairly well-specced Gateway quad-core laptop with 16GB of RAM.  Overkill for Ubuntu, plenty for allocation between host and VM, but that video memory cap of 256MB is KILLING her system.  Smaller projects didn't matter, but now she's constantly bumping the ceiling.  I've been holding out hope that VirtualBox will advance that feature to a 512MB cap, but hope isn't a workable strategy.  It's a real PITA for her to shut down Linux, boot up Windows from the GRUB menu, then wait for Windows to gyrate through all its shenanigans, including Windows updates, before she can do anything meaningful in Adobe.  Flashbacks to my early years of dual-booting and how much I grew to dread the wasted time switching back and forth, until I discovered the nirvana of VirtualBox.  She IS her father's daughter!

I have built my own Frankenbeast desktops and they are Hulks for general office use...e-mail, web browsing, word documents, spreadsheets, graphics conversions, etc...  It was her idea/request for me to build her a Frankenbeast desktop for use as an Adobe workstation.  That's probably the correct long-term solution, for HER, but I'm still looking to supplement her laptop functionality.  She wants to continue using Linux as her primary OS; she notes that GIMP is very stable and reliable on Linux, but sometimes buggy and crashes on Windows...leading her to conclude that Linux is more robust, solid, and stable.  She's right, BTW, but Adobe is a requirement for nearly all professionals in her chosen field, which means Windows is a requirement.

That sucks, but no different than architects/engineers/draftsmen who must use AutoCAD, or recording professionals who must use either ProTools or Cubase, or real estate appraisers who must use WinTotal or ACI or Bradford, or even most folks who are required by their work to use Microsoft Office and/our Outlook.  All required by their industries, and all only available on Windows.  So it makes sense to me for her to have a Windows desktop for use as a dedicated Adobe workstation.  Just looking to supplement that with her current laptop setup.

#14 OFFLINE   sunrat

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 04:57 PM

Windows updates are the worst in Win10. I turned mine off after a bad experience. but probably am way behind so need to turn it on temporarily to catch up. Only been booting it about once a month lately.
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