Steinberg UR824 with Linux - installation

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To get my UR824 solution to work, you have to make modifications to the alsa snd-usb-audio module. These days alsa is integrated into the kernel, so building it separately can be a bit tricky depending on the distribution you are using. I am no alsa expert, so all I can do is tell you how I got it to work. My modifications extend the functionality of the alsa usb audio module, it should still work with any other devices that use it. Don't forget that if you update your kernel, you will have to repeat the process of building and installing the modified module.

The usual small-print applies. You do this at your own risk. I've been playing with my UR824 for a few weeks and not managed to kill it, but don't blame me if it happens to you. There is also a risk that you will break the audio on your Linux box, so I would try it on a special machine. You could try building in a VirtualBox, although the driver won't handle audioas the virtual USB is not fast enough, you can control the mixing and routing inside the UR824.

I have tested this receipe with a clean install of Kubuntu 12.10. Here, like on other modern Linux distributions, alsa modules are part of the kernel build. If you need to rebuild alsa separately, my older instructions are here. First of all, we'll check that we can go through the process of rebuilding and installing the alsa module, and only then try patching the source.

If you have not previously built software on your Linux box, you will need to get the tools, and the kernel source. Sorry but I hate having to type sudo in front of everything, so I am going to su.


On Ubuntu, the above will get the latest version of the kernel for your system. Use `uname -r` to see the kernel you are running, and make sure you reference the correct version . In the recipe below, you will need to replace "3.5.0" with something different. Now for the process of rebuilding the kernel modules. Fortunately, we can just rebuild the sound usb stuff, it's more than we need, but it doesn't take long.


If you have a USB device that is already supported by alsa (a webcam will do), you can try plugging it in and checking that your rebuilt driver loads (note the underscore in this next snippet). Of course you could flip your UR824 into Class Compliant mode and use that!


Your exact output may be different to mine. Alternatively, if you don't have a suitable device, you can try manually loading the driver:


You'll then need to unload the driver ready for the next stage, so unplug the test device and do:


If that didn't go well, you need to get it fixed before moving onto the next stage. Once you are ready, download and apply the patch to the driver. The file can be found at the bottom of this page. The same patches should work with linux-source-3.2 and linux-source-3.5.


So now the fun starts. Plug in the UR824 (make sure it is not in CC mode now) and turn it on. The driver should automatically load as it is patched to recognise the UR824. To check this:


You will see that alsa has recognised the card:


Here you can see that I have another sound card already handled by alsa. You'll need to note the card number on your own system, ("1" in the example above), for use in a moment. Try setting the route for one of the headphone outputs using the tool amixer, the -c option specifies the card number:


If you have previously been using your UR824 with the light-pipes configured as ADAT, you'll need to switch to SPDIF for now. You can use ADAT, but for this first run we are making things as simple as possible. So do:


Install jack if you don't already have it:


So try some audio. First start jackd. This is best done using its front-end because that will take care of stopping any conflicting users of the sound card (such as pulseaudio).


On the setup page, configure it to 44.1kHz, and to use alsa as the driver, with the interface as hw:1,0 (or which ever index the UR824 has in your system). Now start jack. With it running, if you click on Connections, you will see this happy sight...

jack connections

Here I have run mplayer to output a simple stereo stream and connected it. Remember that it is up to you to configure the connections. Of course you will only hear sound if there is a route set up through your UR824's monitoring mixer too.

You'll notice here that only 12 ( = 8 + 2 +2 ) capture channels are available as we have both light-pipes set to be SPDIF. I cover more about the set up, and the different capture / playback options in configuration.

ur824patches_84_linux-source-3.2.0.tar.gz15.05 KB
ur824patches_92_linux-source-3.13.0.tar.gz15.01 KB
Saturday, 23rd October 2021

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