[PlanetCCRMA] laptop audio interface suggestions

Niels Mayer nielsmayer at gmail.com
Fri Feb 5 13:51:08 PST 2010

I'm well surprised at how well Behringer
BCD3000<http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/BCD3000.aspx>works as a
four channel analog I/o (mostly output) with Linux. It worked
well with Windows XP&Media-Center prior to my near complete switchover to
new hardware and F12-only. It is about the size and weight of a laptop,
given all the buttons, jog-dials and faders all of which appear as simple
midi controllers or note on/off in Linux. Caveat/benefit: it is not
USB-powered -- 120VAC line current plug on back -- no wall wart. IMHO this
provides an additional level of noise isolation, and can be separately
plugged into the power amps in live perfomance situations, and powered off
the same power to avoid ground loops.

The BCD3000 works "out of the box" with
Mixxx<http://www.mixxx.org/wiki/doku.php/hardware_compatibility>(tho i
had to turn off the jog-dial midi to prevent crashes).
Those wanting a similar sized and styled controller-only option might
consider Behringer BCF2000 which is well supported under linux (note
http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/10240 -- note the mackie emulation:

> There is a better way to use the BCF2000 with Ardour, and that's in Mackie
> Emulation mode. Basically, you tell Ardour you're already connected to an
> eight-track Mackie control surface.

I haven't run my BCD3000 for hours on end under heavy musical load and heat
(e.g. burningman :-) ) so i can't vouch for it's total stability, but it
certainly impressed me, especially given the price for 4 channels of USB
output with low latency (two mains out on RCA, and a stereo pair to drive a
separate headphone monitor).

Although the BCD3000 presents itself as a DJ console -- it's really just a
class compliant hi-speed USB 4 in/out audio device w/ MIDI including phono
preamp, mic preamp (which are noisy and sub-par). The remaining stereo
line-in is ok.  Best feature is you can use jackd to hook it up to whatever
you want with 14 assignable knobs, 5 sliders, lots of buttons and two
jog-dials. It is not "pro" (A/D and D/A locked to 44.1 K, 24 bit a/d and d/a
but only 100db S/N, which is fine given RCA I/O, no TRS 1/4", no XLR except
for mic input) but it also doesn't have the toy look of the hercules DJ

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