Soundblasters were *never* considered remotely near audiophile quality. Get a proper USB interface and be done with it. A Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 is 150 bones,has great ADACs and pre's, and the ASIO drivers are rock solid.
You can't run VSTs in Linux. This isn't something I'm making up. ProTools? Nah... that doesn't work either. ProTools hardware? No drivers. Ableton Live? Nope. There's a bodged driver for Novation Launchpads, but if Ableton won't run it's not much use, is it? The absolute best latency I've ever gotten out of the hacked together Focusrite Interface drivers is 16ms. To put that in perspective, you hear flamming at a bit over 5ms, so it's unusable.
Again, good for you for having brand loyalty... me, I just want to get shit done with a bare minimum of fucking around. Y'all can rationalize about Linux from here 'til October, but the fact remains that once you step beyond run-of-the mill office productivity and coding tasks on Linux, it shits the bed.
My paycheck involves me being able to run a bunch of software that Linux can't run, and use a bunch of hardware Linux can't support. I know it's hard to believe that computers are used for other things that what you personally use them for, but it is a thing that happens. Linux isn't ready for primetime for musicians. It just isn't.
Out of curiosity, are you usually this paranoid, or just when the utility of your pet OS is questioned.
Reading these threads, and seeing devout Linux adepts arguing with no lack of intensity about the stability/usability of a seemingly endless array of distros/environments is not a compelling advertisement for Linux as everymans OS.
Do you seriously think the Gimp and Inkscape are professional grade applications? That Jack/Ardour/Audacity are a usable platform for music production? Why the fuck should I have to jump through hoops to get VST technology to *not crash*, let alone function properly?
Here's what the Ardour manual has to say about VSTs:
" Thanks to the combined work of Torben Hohn, Kjetil Mattheusen, Paul Davis and a few other developers, it is possible to use Windows VST plugins (that is, plugins in VST format built and distributed for the Windows platforms) on Ardour running on Linux. (Note: there is no VST support of any kind on OS X).
However, doing so has three substantial downsides:
It requires a special build of Ardour that is fundamentally very different from normal builds. Support depends on Wine, a Windows "emulator". As usual with plugins, a crashing plugin will take Ardour down with it. And crashes in Windows VST plugins are more likely when used in this way.
The dependence on Wine makes it almost impossible for the Ardour project to support this feature. Wine's functionality generally improves over time, but any given release of Wine may behave worse with some or all Windows VST plugins. It may even just crash Ardour completely.
Step back and think about what "using Windows VSTs" really means: taking bits of software written with only one idea in mind - running on the Windows platform - and then trying to use them on an entirely different platform. It is a bit of a miracle (largely thanks to the incredible work done by the Wine project) that it works at all. But is this the basis of a stable, reliable DAW for a non-Windows platform? Getting Ardour on Linux to pretend that its really a Windows application running on Windows?
We understand that there are many outstanding plugins available as Windows VSTs and that in many cases, no equivalent is available for Ardour's Linux-based users. If your workflow is so dependent on those plugins, then remain on Windows (or potentially consider using an actual Windows VST host running inside of Wine). If you can make the effort, you will get a better environment by using a normal build of Ardour and exploring the world of plugins built to run on Linux natively. This covers LADSPA, LV2 and Linux VST formats, and even some outstanding proprietary plugins such as those from LinuxDSP and Loomer. "
So no dude, it's not that I'm lazy, it's not that I'm stupid, it's that your fucking OS just doesn't fucking work.
Fucking around with Linux to make it work is a bigger pain in the ass than fucking around with Windows to make it work.
Linux is great for primary network functionality. Actually accomplishing stuff besides configuring network protocols, editing text files and looking a pron between *intense coding sessions*... not occurring. I know y'all try hard, but if I can't plug in a graphics tablet, USB audio interface and midi controller and have them do what they're supposed to without hunting down 3rd party drivers and fucking with the command line to implement patches of dubious provenance, I just cannot be arsed.