MOTU is hostile towards Linux

Out of production.

Device does not work at present (Nov 2009) but it is possible that this situation will change since some relevent information has been provided by an advanced user who owns the device.

Support Status: 


i have a Motu 828 firewire (mk1) and want to use ubuntu on my notebook
how can I help? (i'm not the ultimate linux crack but nevertheless ,-))

Unfortunately the user referred to in the info record for this device had to return the 828mk1 before we were able to determine the finer details of this device's control protocol (it was borrowed from a friend apparently). I was able to add some "mark 1" support to FFADO but from what I remember this was not able to be tested at the time.

So in the first instance you could simply try either svn trunk or the 2.0 release of ffado and see what (if anything) works. That at least would give us an indication of where we are at. Once we know that we can take things from there as is appropriate. Obviously it's a little difficult for me to get the Mark-1 devices working without physical access to a device to confirm the control protocol and debug ffado directly but I'm willing to try to make progress with your assistance as much as we can.

It's probably best to report your findings to the ffado-devel mailing list - I tend to see those posts more rapidly than notes added on this wiki. That way we can also take the discussion to email which from past experience is much more efficient for this sort of thing. Contacting me via the ffado-devel list is also probably the best bet if you need more detailed assistance in getting ffado working on your machine. I would note that I don't think any released versions of Ubuntu carry ffado 2.0.0 yet, so at the very least you will have to compile ffado and (carefully) replace your existing ffado with the new one. I've made posts ffado-devel about this and could dig them up if you're unable to track them down in the archives.

I have this device, and would like to contribute any knowledge needed to have this device fully working in linux. I know it's old, but it's what I've got. What do you need?


The original 828 (referred to within ffado as the 828mk1 for clarity) isn't usable with ffado yet because there are some aspects to the control protocol which I do not yet know. I am presently working with another 828mk1 owner on this and may result in the information required. I'll try to remember to drop a line here to keep you informed of progress.

To answer your question, the outstanding issue currently is how to turn streaming on and off on the device - something which can only be discovered by capturing and inspecting packets from the wire. There are other things too but they are of secondary importance at this point. If you're interested in trying to help in this regard, perhaps drop me a direct email (obtain my address from one of my numerous postings to the ffado-devel mailing list) and we can take it from there. Otherwise keep an eye out for news either here or on ffado-devel - hopefully we'll be able to at least enable audio playback and capture soon.


I am the happy owner of a MOTU 828 (mk1), and I have just installed Tango...

May I help on testing something ?


In regard to the earlier posts about the 828Mk1, we did end up identifying some of the more interesting aspects of the protocol and the resulting code is in ffado. I vaguely recall that some preliminary testing showed some problems but then something came up which prevented us pursuing it further. As a result, the state of ffado for the original 828MkI is pretty much unknown.

If you are willing it would be great if you could test ffado with your mk1 and report your findings - even if it is initially only a case of "it works" or "it doesn't work". At least then we'll get some idea of where we're at with this device.

For the tests to be of any use you'll need to obtain and install the latest ffado snapshot which you'll have to obtain out of our subversion repository. Let me know if you need details on how to go about this.

Finally, pardon my ignorance but what's "Tango"?

Hi, just wanted to put my hand up as an Ubuntu 12.04 running MOTU 828mk1 (and mk2) owner. I haven't used either with my linux machine yet, but I'd like to, (my windows machine just died) so if you need any testing or output from this device please let me know. I've run Ubuntu for about 5 years, but never really done any audio with it. I used synaptic to install all FFADO related packages and qjackctl to see if I can test it out, but having trouble finding my way around it so far...

The most convenient place to obtain assistance if things don't seem to be working for you is the ffado-user mailing list. Details can be found in the "Contact" link on the left side of the FFADO website. Debugging faults (except very simple ones) via the forum usually becomes unweildy very quickly due to the large number of comments it inevitably generates.

For your information, the 828mk2 should work: we've had numerous reports of success with this interface over the years. However, the original 828 isn't quite there yet. FFADO recognises it and can drive it in most circumstances, but playback appears to be muted (that is, audio sent to the device doesn't make it to any outputs). So far this problem has foiled all attempts to fix it. It's getting close to the point where I really need physical access to an 828 so I can run extensive tests on it to determine what exactly we're failing to do. Either that, or someone with an 828 and firewire bus sniffing capability. Over the years I've had numerous 828 loan offers, but the freight to Australia from most places in the world is a real killer and as a result these arrangements have never been pursued.

I want to use a MOTU 828 mk1 on linux and ardour.
Any update if the Ffado drivers support this device?

FFADO almost supports the 828mk1. We can control the device, start audio streaming and receive audio from the unit (that is, record). What does not work is playback: sending audio to the interface produces nothing but silence from the outputs. It is thought that there is a hardware mute function acting which we have so far failed to identify.

I currently have an 828mk1 on extended loan and have started to work on this problem. I had hoped to have it sorted by the end of 2013 but a few other issues intervened (some FFADO-related, others not) and this did not happen. Resolving this issue is on my short-list for 2014, along with tracking down an obscure rarely observed (but still irritating) bug elsewhere in FFADO. At that point I would like to try to push a version 2.2 out. January is a bit of a write-off for me, but once I'm past that I hope to get back to both these problems.

I am determined to solve the 828mk1 playback mystery. It annoys me that despite the progress made on other MOTU interfaces, the 828k1 playback has remained uncooperative for so many years.

Hello Friends!

Mr. jwoithe, as I read you are the only one who could get to build a driver to work with mk1. And it was in your mind to do in this year.
How itÅ› going on? did you get anything else?

Otherwise anybody get any driver to control this interface in ardour!??

Thanks to all people who work for develope software for all users!

I continue to work on this as time allows. It is proving to be rather frustrating since the driver *almost* works except for one detail. The only outstanding issue is that the audio outputs are muted and they have so far resisted all attempts to unmute them. Recording from the device seems to work fine. It appears that there is a very subtle detail about these devices I have not yet been able to spot, even after close investigation of many packet dumps.

To summarise, work to resolve this final detail of the 828mk1 driver in FFADO continues, albeit slowly.

Much strength and encouragement to you, thank you in advance for your persistence and work. I hope you get it soon!

Sorry I can not help you, I don't know to compile or program anything!

Tell me something if you get it please! Thanks!

os x driver provides a check box that provides access or not to control the volume by CoreAudio (which causes some problems with JackOSX)

The hardware volume controls have been allowed for during testing. The position of the hardware volume controls makes no difference: all outputs completely remain free of audio regardless of what these are set to.

In windows the original driver package is the only one that works so im wondering, is there a way we could perhaps compare the mk1 to the mk2 driver to see what is missing. Or is that too big an ordeal? Im willing to do all kinds of tests PC based and circuit, as i need to replace a transformer anyway.

The mk1 device operates in a very different way to the mk2 interfaces. A direct comparison of the two drivers will only serve to highlight these differences.

Furthermore, any direct work with drivers from other operating systems would be a long and difficult road. The drivers for other operating systems are close-source, so the only thing available to us is the driver binaries. One would have to analyse the machine code to determine what the mk1 driver did. Instead of this, my approach has been to analyse the content of the packets sent to/from the mk1 to determine how the interface is driven. The difficulty is that there are no obvious differences between what FFADO does and what other drivers do which have not already been looked at, tested, and determined to be irrelevant. Clearly there is one little thing that we're missing. Tracking that down is proving elusive.

Having said that, I really do want to solve the mystery one way or another and continue to chip away at it as time allows.