Emu 1616m And Linux


after working day in day out on a desktop, i decided to buy a notebook.

cause i want to produce music on this notebook in a more :ph34r: kinda way, i installed Ubuntu.

cause the internal audiocard business is giving me a headache, i’m considering the EMU 1616 PCMIA card possibly with breakout box.

anyone has experience with this unit under Ubuntu? basicly … will it work under linux?


I am a bit concerned about your decision: I’ve read your problems with internal soundcard on the other thread, and now I see you decided to buy another soundcard.

Are you sure the Emu 1616 fits your needs? It has very basic features which could not satisfy you if you are in need for recording capabilities so, if you are indeed in need for recording capabilities, I wonder if this is really what are you looking for.

If, instead, you simply need a replacement for your internal soundcard, I suggest you to try everything you can to get the best out of your soundcard before taking this decision. The problem you are experiencing are the same I was experiencing, and we have almost the same soundcard…

Anyway, on [this thread](http://forums.audiofanzine.com/index,idtopic,330002,forum,emu_1616m adaptateur_pcmcia_expresscard linux.html) (French language, sorry), the writer says that he has managed to achieve good latency with EMU1616 PCMCIA via a CardBus adapter, but he needed to recompile the ALSA driver with a specific option for EMU 1xxx cards.

Recompling ALSA driver is actually something you can also try for your HDA-Intel soundcard:
read the related how-to here.
I will try this myself to see if it will improve plain ALSA performance and thus remove the need for JACK layer in order to achieve better performances.

EMU 1616 is not that cool thing. I wouldn’t buy it. Under linux the support is iffy, but you can get it working.

I’d recommend some other cards with similar price tag and better linux support.

Hey housefly

I think i can talk about that, i just downloaded Renoise demo and installed it on my tweaked ubuntu.

I think Emu 1616 is a great sound card, but apparently getting it to work under linux is kinda problematic.

I’d advise you to try and get your internal sound card working first, cause linux (unfortunately) is also mainly about getting everything working before you can have fun (even if getting it to work is part of the fun :D). It would be awkward to buy a 400 $ sound card to realize it is not fully supported under 'nux.

Generally if you want fast & easy operation under linux, an usb soundcard is the way to go, the simpler the better, cause usb soundcards are generically supported. I for example made my Novation X-station work audio and midi wise without problems.

If you want lots of channels and such you better get a well supported firewire soundcard. Just google the name of the sound card and linux. I heard edirol is generally well supported, and MOTU isn’t supported at all.

I had trouble making my hda-intel work on renoise on ubuntu. Here is how i did :

  • I did get the realtime ubuntu packages and 'nux kernel.

  • I did install jackd and qjackctl, to be able to use Renoise thru Jack, since plain alsa didn’t cut it (lots of xrun, whatever the buffer i would set)

  • i configured jack this way (configure thru qjackctl, the name in ubuntu apps menu is Jack control)

-Enable realtime

  • 512 frames/period and 3 period/buffer

The thing was to put the period/buffer higher than 2, because when it was set to 2, no matter what i would do, it would xrun. Don’t ask me why. With this set up i have a latency of 33 ms, wich is quite usable.

Then you push the start button on jack control, and then you launch renoise wich is gonna automatically go for jack since alsa is used by jack already.

To get the aforementioned packages, type this in a terminal :

This is of course if you get sound at all with your hda intel card works at all. If it doesn’t, post and i’ll try to help you further :)

EDIT: IT-Alien : I tried compiling alsa last version by myself. Worked but didn’t change anything.

thanks Notfonk, you indeed confrmed what I wrote on the other thread: setting periods to >2 value solves the issue.

thanks also for notifying me about ALSA driver recompilation, you saved me some work :)

It uses standard USB Audio/Midi protocols. These are supported under linux. As a matter of fact there are very few USB sound cards or devices with USB sound which don’t work under linux out of the box.

PCMCIA or other real bus cards are considered to be more stable and robust though. Also they sometimes allow bigger throughputs than USB cards.

yah true, also this remains true on every OS, since pcmcia basically is an externalized PCI port with a different connection standard.

BTW, emu 1616 seems to be fully supported starting from alsa 1.0.15, and default version on ubuntu hardy is 1.0.16, so you must be safe purchasing 1616 if you really want to
(It’s a really good SC btw,the 1616m has the best AD/DA converters i’ve seen on consumer grade SC to date)

EDIT : You welcome Alien :) didn’t see your post in the first place

ok, thanks for the advice.

i re-installed ubuntu, but this time with a dual boot option (vista as back-up)

first thing is to try and get hda-intel device working… after that i will make the decision whether to get the emu 1616 or not (there is a very interesting deal on thomann.de)

fingers crossed


If you make any headway with this, please post up your results. I really want to switch to Linux now, and i have a 1616m.

So let me know!

Nice one.

Good news!
everything works fine.

My distro is 64studio (best) i386=32-bit ´couse ´noise64studio.

I kept the card connected trhu whole setup process and it works out of the box as promised.

Problems that I´am facing are the Jack connections… installing Renoise (best) solved most of them…

Still I need to work primary Eemu1616 against ac97 (atiixp?)


Thanks for your reply.

I have not totally switched to Ubuntu, so anything you can add here will be so useful! Even if your ideas are tiny little ones, just lay them down and we can form a bigger picture together and spread the knowledge we gain!


Hey guys.

Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I am in the middle of setting up Ubuntu.

I have installed Ubuntu on an external drive and and running it that way (it works fine!).

The soundcard inside my laptop works fine (I am using it now to listen to music and talk to people on Skype, without any issue, so I guess this means it is fine, right?)

So, I am looking to install Renoise and an Emu-1616m sound card.

If anyone can give me a step by step method of how to do this, based on their own experiences, I would be SOOOO grateful.

I honestly dont know where to start. At the moment, this whole thing is a few levels above what I am capable of, with regards to computing.

So, any help would be excellent!

I can repay anyone who wants to help me out with gifts from Japan! :)


I encourage You to switch 64studio - it´s lighter and more stable…! bye bye windows

Weeell… I think You know how-to install operating system?

Find 64studio_2.1_i386.iso from isohunt.com download torrent. >burn>

After you´we installed it I hope that you´ll have cableconnection to internet because wireless is bit triky in Linux.

Next You should update your system in synaptic it is really easy (just push the button in the upper left corner) be carefull - not too megalomanic with the packages write down what you have installed so you know howto find it if you want to get rid of it! There is lot off good stuff but allso lot what you don´t need!

Then you´ll of course install Renoise… find faq from the forum…

for eyecandy…


alsamixer -c 2 (try numbers 0-4 to find your cards)

Then fight your way trhu alsa/jack/Renoise confusion…

BE AWARE Im not ready yet…
(In jack check realtime mode and card it might be differently numbered than in alsamixer. Choose server path jackd-realtime , priority 0, frames/period 16, samplerate 48000, buffers 2. Interface ADC capture/playback PCM (You might need to chance coreaudio to find right card) switch back to alsa. Input and Output Channels I use 4/4 to avoid confusion in my head. I don´t know how many channels n can carry but i suppouse many. In Renoise chooce similar preferenses for audio. You might need to switch back to alsa to chance bitrates and buffers and device choose ADC capture/playback PCM Close jack and Renoise, then… FIRST open jack then Renoise… start jack and hope it works) … for me it does!

Yeah, I have installed Ubuntu and am up to speed, as far as installing everything EXCEPT my 1616m

I imagine it would take me a full day sat down with loads of cups of tea.

I will follow your instructions (as best I can…) and see what I come up with.

Cheers for the input.

I will get to the bottom of this!