Digidesign Mbox 2 – Now part of ALSA!

ZamAudio would like to thank the developers who wrote the bulk of the USB Audio driver for linux, and users who donated and helped me test this hardware. Without their hard work, this patch would not have worked and made it possible for other Mbox2 users to use their Digidesign hardware on a free operating system.

Commit message:

Support for Digidesign Mbox 2 USB sound card:

This patch is the result of a lot of trial and error, since there are no specs
available for the device.

Full duplex support is provided, i.e. playback and recording in stereo.
The format is hardcoded at 48000Hz @ 24 bit, which is the maximum that the
device supports. Also, MIDI in and MIDI out both work.

Users will notice that the S/PDIF light also flashes when playback or recording
is active. I believe this means that S/PDIF input/output is simultaneously
activated with the analogue i/o during use.
But this particular functionality remains untested.

Note that this particular version of the patch is so far untested on the
physical hardware because I have not compiled a full kernel with the changes.
However, extensive testing has been done by many users of the hardware
who believe other versions of my patch have worked since circa 2009.

Signed-off-by: Damien Zammit

12 thoughts on “Digidesign Mbox 2 – Now part of ALSA!

  1. Hello, many thanks for your hard work on Digidesign hardware support and congratulations to have finally your driver merged in kernel. Long ago some people requested support for the Mbox 1 in the comments to one of your previous blog entry, at least here What’s new about that? What would be needed to see some progress on that?

  2. finally figured out my issue, not having my mbox2 firmware up to date was causing any distro to not reconize it, i say now, using manjaro linux with updating the mbox to 1.43, it now works out of the box ! you rock ZAM AUDIO !!!!

  3. Thanks for your hard work.
    I tested successfully your driver last night with ubuntu studio and recorded in ardour.
    Tonight I will test the midi. I can’t wait.
    Thanks again.

  4. Hello Zamaudio. I have the mbox2, uninstalled pulse audio, using alsa mixer, updated the firmware (via the windows driver, not the mac one) and I’m using Ubuntu 14.04 (32 bit). Have been updating the software via the ubuntu software updater. The MBOX2 is not working.
    Turn on qjackd and as i plug in the hardware I get the following:
    23:59:33.799 XRUN callback (1).
    But it doesn’t turn on the lights or appear in the connect window.

    In the Terminal, dmesg returns:
    [ 1543.610240] usb-audio: Unknown bootresponse=1, or timed out, ignoring device.
    [ 1543.610290] snd-usb-audio: probe of 2-1:1.6 failed with error -5

    Is there anything else I can do. I have been following your advice (at least now something appears in the message window in qjackd when I connect it) and would help me a lot if I could get it running. Thank you.

  5. Hi,
    I can only get audio output working with puredata using alsa,
    when i enable audio input the outputs gets extremly noisy and when I increase the number of input channels, the noise at the output gets even noisier…

    the strange thing is, that it works when i use it with a jackserver and puredata using jack.
    I get nice quality audio in and out BUT!!! after 20 seconds or so puredata freezes and the jackserver crashed. i dont know what to do.

    does anyone know what i could do?


  6. derek: how did you manage to flash your mbox to 1.43 with linux i woul apreciate the answer thx

  7. @Zen: looks like Avid deadened all of the previously available links to any firmware updates, etc. (Last link to it is here:

    The one thing I did read from an Avid rep in a support posting from years ago, is that Pro Tools itself contains firmware updates for many Digi interfaces. So, AFAICT, the short story is “Find someone with ProTools 8 or newer running on Windows/OSX. who will let you hook up your MBox 2 to their computer.”

  8. Hi, first I’d like to say thanks for your work on this driver. It was great to pick up a professional sound card (albeit an old one) for next to nothing second hand and have it work in Linux.
    I do however have a problem with the frame rate being fixed to 48000Hz. Is this an inherent limitation of the device or is it a driver implementation issue? I’ve seen your comment on the original Mbox that it was done this way to make it easier to do SPDIF sync. I do not need this however I have some Ardour sessions recorded at 41000Hz. If I modified the descriptor in the kernel and recompiled the driver, would that work?

  9. Vik: I disabled it because I couldn’t get it reliably to switch between rates, therefore I hardcoded to the highest supported rate. Your mileage may vary, feel free to experiment.

  10. Damo, thanks for getting back to me. I have been playing with the driver and got 44100Hz and mode switching working with Jack but not Alsa (yet). I’m trying to work out what the driver does differently from standard USB audio devices implementing UAC_VERSION_1 controls. Once I’m done with that I’ll try to add a “quirk” for setting the sample rate. In any case the byte codes (0x80bb00 for 48000Hz and 0x44ac00 for 44100Hz) are the same — these are just 48000 and 44100 as little endian byte order hexadecimal values.

    Are you still on the alsa-devel mailing list? That’s probably a better place to have an ongoing discussion and I will probably need a bit of handholding and help with testing.

  11. Damo, could you please try this patch:

    I’ve done limited testing on an Mbox 2 Mini and it seems to work both for PulseAudio/VLC and Jack/Ardour. I’d love to get some feedback on the Mbox 2 as well. I have removed the “Magic” init sequence but it seems to work without it.

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