comparative qualities between windows and linux ice1712 chipset drivers
I'm going to have to be the bad guy and say this, but first I'm going to start off with a positive. Ardour isn't LIKE protools... I think it's better in many ways.
I think it is a well designed piece of software.
Now with the negative...
I purchased about 4 months ago a delta 66 and a delta 1010. I never tried either of the cards in windows, but I tried syncronizing them with a MMAP_COMPLEX patch for jack and a pcm_multi patch for the newest alsa-lib. With jack patched and running both cards in sync, I was getting wierd phasing issues and some very unnatural sounding hardware monitoring. As a vocalist amongst other things, I was noticing strange behavior with backing harmonies and pitch issues between accopaniment and vocals. It is common knowledge that singers normally sing FLAT when a headphone mix is a bit hot. Singing slightly flat on a note or two usually goes unnoticed, but I was getting frighteningly weird behavior with backup harmonies. They were SHARP!
Not only that but there was much to be desired in the recording with both high and low frequency definition. My recordings were not sounding professional. I then got curious, installed windows(yuck!), and tried out the windows drivers.
The resolution quality of the hardware monitoring was like night and day. Using the exact same settings I had on the envy24control mixer, with the windows hardware monitoring on I could hear the fish tank in the next room. It was crystal clear, which made me realize that these delta cards are supposed to sound JUST LIKE THE RADIO. It is my understanding that they even use the same AD/DA converters as the ones in protools HD systems.
I'm not a professional computer programmer, but if you're willing to take my word for it, I'm actually a well-respected musician. The sonic quality difference between the linux and windows drivers is like night and day. It almost sounds like the linux driver is only sampling at 22050 HZ instead of at 44100. If you listen carefully to the playback the linux recording quality almost sounds like half of the data is missing.
I would have never known any of this until I configured a dual-boot system and was able to do a side-by-side comparison.
So, in conclusion, I think ardour is an absolute gem, but I'm forced to use windows right now so that I can submit a radio-quality demo. Perhaps if some genius out there was willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement and SELL drivers that work flawlessly with linux, I'd be their first customer. Techies love to tech. Pro-grade musicians want pro recordings, and they can't be second best or just okay. They have to be BIGGER THAN LIFE.
I don't think anybody is going to have a problem shelling out hard cash for linux solutions if they know their rig if going to work flawlessly in linux, but it's just that. The hardware really has to WORK FLAWLESSLY.
I commend everybody who has worked so hard, but I think it is only fair that I let out the bad news.