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What are my options for 4-channel-or-more audio input devices in Ubuntu (or Linux in general)? I could deal with 16-bit input, but 32-bit is better, especially considering the amount of post-processing I tend to do.

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What do you mean options. Can you specify the question better. –  Luis Alvarado Oct 5 '11 at 4:47
    
I'd like to know what hardware will work without any driver pain. –  Jason Champion Oct 5 '11 at 5:47

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I actually have one that has 4 inputs connectors, is the Intel DP35DP

enter image description here

And the same goes for my mother-in-law's PC. It has 2 PCI sound cards and the one that comes with the motherboard. Both PCI sound cards have more holes than a cheese from Tom & Jerry since you can connect (at least the first one I checked) 2 mics and has 4 more connections that am guessing only 2 of them are output (digital & analog). You can select which sound device to use in the "Choose a device for sound" either for input or output and then choose what specific connection for each.

Up to what I know the only cards or sound technology that was not supported 100% was the SB X-Fi Xtreme (Well the latest Sound Blaster Cards) but will be supported 100% in Ubuntu 11.10. In Ubuntu 11.04 almost all 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 cards are supported. In the case of my mother-in-law that was a 7.1 but the other pic card might had been a 7.1, 6.1 or a 5.1. I know the one inside the motherboard is a standard 2.1.

Here is the Alsa support page: http://www.alsa-project.org/main/index.php/Matrix:Main

which will tell you what cards are supported. In many cases it will not say like "Supports Intel DP35DP sound card". Instead it will say the model of the sound card which is general for many Intel motherboards (Like Realtek).

Another post mentioning the problems with the last Creative Labs sound cards is here: How do I get a SB X-Fi Xtreme Audio CA0110 working?

This was almost a year ago. So you can imagine the changes with ALSA after that long time. If not here they are: http://www.alsa-project.org/main/index.php/Changes_v1.0.23_v1.0.24
(Watch out! They are long)

Basically if 11.04 does not support the card you want to use (Must be the very latest like yesterday) then 11.10 will.

Reference to UbuntuStudio - http://ubuntustudio.org/

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Good answer - a reference to ubuntustudio wiki would be nice. –  aquaherd Oct 5 '11 at 18:41
    
Done. Good reference actually for this kind of questions. –  Luis Alvarado Oct 5 '11 at 19:09
    
I'm most interested in pro-audio-type cards, which tend to have poor driver support. Ubuntu Studio's card matrix is helpful for that. Thank you. –  Jason Champion Oct 8 '11 at 16:53
    
@Jason - Can you provide an example. Am really interested in knowing which cards do not yet have support and which do since I also work as some kind of consultant for several people. Knowing this helps me and more in checking when the support will arrive. –  Luis Alvarado Oct 8 '11 at 17:16
    
Forgive the ugliness of the URL, but here's a pretty good example of what's available for multi-input audio interfaces (especially USB and firewire): musiciansfriend.com/… Many of those won't be supported because they sell in lower volume than most consumer interfaces, have more complex drivers, and if they are supported, don't often show up in hardware support lists. –  Jason Champion Oct 10 '11 at 22:25

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