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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2002 6:20 pm    Post subject: Alsa or not to Alsa Reply with quote

Hi All.

I have two sound cards in my machine:
1: Terratec DMX 6fire 24/96
2: A simple c-media 8738

I given up on getting #1 to work with Alsa. I can get sound from it, but no mixer (including envy24control) can control it. It's not a big deal, I'll use #2 - if I can get it to work. Again, Alsa works, I get sound from any application (xmms, freeamp, cdplayer (of course), wolfenstein). But:

1) Other than Alsa, there are traces of oss, esound and arts on the system. These have obviously been installed by various emerges. Which are necessary? It seems that some level of oss is a must, but I'm pretty confused about which demons/programs/drivers/whatever/servers/layers control which.

2) Is it possible to get sound from any number of programs simutaneously? Does Alsa do this, like DirectSound on Windows? Does it depend on the hardware, and if so does mine work? I can't do this no matter how I try.

3) Sound from xine / mplayer. Does this actually work with Alsa? I can't do it. It seems that the sound I'm hearing is coming from some combination of alsa and oss. What gives? Alsa-oss isn't installed.

4) The fact that the sound card works fine with a standard oss driver worries me a bit. How can I make sure that I'm actually using Alsa directly? "alsaplayer -o alsa" works, but the scopes seems out of sync with the sound, as they are in xmms.

5) Alsamixergui doesn't emerge, nor does wmmixer-alsa. Just for the record.


Regards,
H
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BonezTheGoon
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2002 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my experience if you are seeing any other sound daemons you need to remove them from your USE settings, and you need to be sure that the only sound related support in your kernel is soundcore (basic sound card support) nothing else in the kernel should be enabled (as module or directly compiled in). Yes ALSA works with Xine and Mplayer, ogle as well. I know I just read earlier about a Terratec card (may not be the same one though). C-media 8738 is pretty well support in my experience, though. Alsa should be able to be your "one stop shopping" sound daemon and you shouldn't need anything else. For some "stupid apps" Alsa-oss should provide all the 'other' support you need. Alsa should (I think) be able to allow two sources of sound simultaneously (xmms and xine both playing different audio at the same time, nicely mixed). I have never had alsamixergui compile successfully, don't know if my kernel options are funky or if my GCC3.1 doesn't like it or what. Just use the mixer described in the Desktop Guide. In fact, do everything EXACTLY like it says in the Desktop Guide and you should be fine.

Hope any of my rambling makes sense!

Regards,
BonezTheGoon
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Herodot
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2002 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi!

I forgot to log in when I posted the original message - but it was really me! I swear, officer!

If I unmerge esound, nautilus won't start. Not very clever programming, I'd say.

I have -esound -oss -arts in my USE, but that doesn't really work. If I install nautilus, esound still gets installed.

Xine suddenly works with alsa - yeah baby! Oh, it's only for root... well getting the permissions sorted out should be possible. However: When xine is running with alsa, xmms fails to play:
ALSA lib pcm_hw.c:791:(snd_pcm_hw_open) open /dev/snd/pcmC0D0p failed: Device or resource busy
error opening alsa device: Unknown error 4294967280
Xlib: unexpected async reply (sequence 0x6f6)!

Very annoying!

The Terratec card you mention is indeed a completely different card.

Doing everything "EXACTLY like it says in the Desktop Guide" is not a good way of installing gnome... But as for sound and other things, the guide does provide lots of good advice.

Quote:
Hope any of my rambling makes sense!

Yes, thank you. I hope my not-so-good english is understandable.

Regards,
Herodot
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BonezTheGoon
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2002 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, I should be more explicit and say what I actually mean. When I say to do everything exactly as it is done in the desktop guide I am only referring to chapter three (section three?) where it covers sound. I didn't really find any more value in the majority of the desktop guide (that’s why the link I provide jumps right to chapter three). Well I am glad that it is working now in Alsa. Not sure why you are getting device busy, could be that the alsa driver for your card does not support this, maybe. I don't know for sure. You might try googling for some answers on that one.

Regards,
BonezTheGoon
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Herodot
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2002 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Google is indeed our friend. I found this very quickly:

Quote:
ALSA dosn't support "software mixing" except on just a few cards (and the
ESS is NOT one of them). What you were probably using on your old system
was a thing called "Enlightment Sound Daemon" or "esd". Redhat usually
automatically installs this. Do a "ps -A" and look for it. It sits in
front of your existing sound driver and performs this function. It should
work with your new system too, if configured correctly.


(posted in january)

This answers several of my questions.
Using esd in xmms and xine works! They both play! Yeeeha!

I restarted esd (I think...) and now all's well - except for the gnome system sounds... I'll just have to live without them, I guess...

regards,
Herodot
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Herodot
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some info:

When I start my computer, esound isn't working. It's running, but no sound is heard. I have to "killall esd" and then start it again. Then it works.

Credits: The hint from Google I posted earlier was written by "James Steward". While playing with sound I used "Secret agent man" as a test - I must have heard it 100's of times by now.


- Herodot
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fidler
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could you give the steps you used to get esound working with alsa. I am having a similiar problem with my intel820 card.
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Herodot
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi.

Quote:
Could you give the steps you used to get esound working with alsa. I am having a similiar problem with my intel820 card.


Well, not a simple, few steps.

If I were you I would:

1) Search Google to see if there are alsa problems with your card. See if others have it working.

2) Make sure you have sound support in the kernel, and nothing else.

3) Unmerge oss, alsa, esd, arts. Edit you USE to have only alsa and esd.

4) Follow the desktop guide to get alsa working. It should relatively easy, although it's unclear which oss parts should be left alone. I suggest playing along and not trying to be clever. Removing all oss-related stuff certainly isn't a shortcut to sound!

5) To test alsa:
Code:
aplay someniceuncompressedsound.wav
or
alsaplayer something.mp3


6) To test sound in general:
Code:
echo "test" > /dev/dsp

(assuming that your sound device is /dev/dsp this will give a click in the speakers).

7) emerge esound. I'm using esound from all applications now.

That's what I did - over a few days. There are still a few things that are strange on my system, such as:

1) Devfs seems to be a bit screwed up. I'll try omitting "unix989pty" from my next kernel compile.

2) Suddenly (with a new xine) only root has sound - in xine. Hm...

3) esd does start on boot, but wrong somehow. Strange.


I hope you get things working - I finally have.


regards,
Herodot
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fidler
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Herodot wrote:
Hi.
3) esd does start on boot, but wrong somehow. Strange.


Have you tried

Code:

esd -promiscuous


instead of esd on your start on boot script.

I had a similiar problem once and found that if you allow -promiscuous then all users, not just root, can use the esd.
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