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zyko
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to enable hardware mixing globally, you can use /etc/asound.conf or ~/.asoundrc:

Code:
pcm.!default{
 type hw
 card 0
 device 0
}


This should have the same effect as the above, but it prevents you from having to configure every piece of playback software individually.
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isolationism
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome, I had worried about that, zyko (e.g. some apps not allowing advanced device configuration in this manner). Thank you for the tip; I've been enjoying my music a lot more lately!
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Chewi
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you know if that is supposed to work on the D2X? I've just got one and was surprised to find that aplay only returns one analog subdevice.

Code:
**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: D2X [Xonar D2X], device 0: Multichannel [Multichannel]
  Subdevices: 0/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: D2X [Xonar D2X], device 1: Digital [Digital]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0


I thought maybe it would just allow multiple sounds through anyway so I tried it and it worked but when I try and force it through hw:0,0 to avoid resampling like you did above, it says...

Code:
aplay: main:654: audio open error: Device or resource busy
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Chewi
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, now I understand that this card doesn't do hardware mixing at all. Not what you want to discover when you've just bought one. Guess I took my old Audigy Platinum for granted. I suppose I'll have to switch to JACK or PulseAudio. I tried them both recently, not sure which one I prefer yet.

Last edited by Chewi on Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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isolationism
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have a D2X but one analogue device is correct. My card does have two different analogue outputs (speaker and headphones) but only one can be active at a time -- you can clearly hear the amplifier switch on and off when you change from one output to the other. My list of playback hardware devices is virtually identical to yours:
Code:
**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: ST [Xonar ST], device 0: Multichannel [Multichannel]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: ST [Xonar ST], device 1: Digital [Digital]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0


I'm not sure what behaviour you expected, but you got the "right one" even if it's not what you wanted.

If you output directly to the hardware device it will lock that device from other apps being able to access it. There is no abstraction layer.

If you WANT multiple sources to be able to output simultaneously then you MUST use a software mixer to combine all desired audio output into a single audio stream. This implies dynamic resampling to a common output frequency and bitrate -- which is usually 48KHz/16bit (presumably because this is a common bitrate for DVDs/movies/etc) unless you've explicitly changed it -- which means that every single piece of music you listen to will have been resampled in realtime to that bitrate. Ugh.

Since I explicitly want bit-perfect audio -- e.g. I do NOT want software to resample my music from the original format, and prevent me from being able to enjoy high-definition recordings (e.g. Audiophile Jazz Prologue III, which is recorded at 192KHz/24bit). I also hate when my listening gets interrupted by system sound events etc., and prefer to only ever have one audio stream output at a time.

Hopefully this helps you understand why I configured my sound output the way I did, and helps you decide what setting is best for you.
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isolationism
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right, the whole line of ASUS cards only have one DAC each.

The point of the lineup, I'm quite certain, is a focus on audio quality -- which is expensive to do well, as the DAC is the expensive part of the board (or it's supposed to be, anyway). I've owned many a Sound Blaster product in my day -- dating all the way back to my first Sound Blaster+ (which was also my first sound card) -- but Creative's emphasis has clearly always been on having "the most" of something as opposed to the best sounding card. If I played a lot of games, I'd definitely consider a Creative card. Since 90% of my listening at my computer is music, with the other 10% being TV/movies (sometimes as Flash, less frequently but for longer as downloads) it's a good fit for me. Bummer that it isn't for you, though -- Good luck with the software mixer!
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Chewi
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to do a bit of everything, mostly music, TV, movies but also some gaming and theoretically if I had time, some music production. I've gone with PulseAudio now and it's working well enough.

I'm just a bit gutted because I had a poor understanding of S/PDIF and thought that I could use this card to pump surround sound from my Xbox 360 to my analog speakers. Now I know that S/PDIF can only carry 2 channels when using PCM format and that most cards don't have a Dolby Digital decoder either, although I gather some of the Creatives do. Guess which make I should have chosen. :roll: My last glimmer of hope is the possibility of software decoding. I've seen some posts showing that this is possible so I'm going to give it a try soon but it sucks knowing that my onboard card probably could have done this just as well.

Still, I'm trying to look on the bright side. It's still a really good card and it sounds noticeably better. I hope I'm not imagining that. It's the only thing I've managed to stay happy about. :P
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isolationism
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting addendum to anyone who follows Zyko's global hardware mixing advice and uses Skype:

Don't.

I spent many hours debugging this last month because my voice would come out sounding very low, like it was going through a voice changer. While I'm not exactly certain what the issue is, I'm pretty confident it's because my voice was being recorded at a higher bit depth than Skype can handle.

When I disabled global hardware mixing and continued to use it only for software I specifically want to support, everything was fine again.

I am however experiencing a new problem lately that I wonder if anyone else is affected by:

We all know how "black" the sound from the sound card is, right? It's really, really quiet when not playing anything; there's no amplifier hiss whatsoever. At least, that was my experience. Recently I've switched to a new machine and had to purchase the STX version (had the ST/PCI version in my previous hardware) and there is some serious amplifier weirdness.

In particular, it seems that playing certain files triggers a different mode on the amplifier because I can hear a click in my headphones followed by amplifier hiss (or lack thereof). It is important to note that the amplifier hiss is persistent and lasts until I play something that "removes" the hiss -- it is NOT something that just happens while sound is playing. I also hear a very definite "click" when switching between playback rates (regardless of whether the from/to rates produce a hiss or not).

So far I have mapped out the following:

* 44/16 files "add" hiss (e.g. most CD/mp3s)
* 48/16 files "remove" hiss (e.g. most videos/movies)
* 88/24 files "add" hiss
* 96/16 files "remove" hiss
* 192/24 files "remove" hiss

Does anyone else who has these cards have a few minutes to try this out and see if they have a similar experience? I'm not even sure where to go on this one as it seems like such a minor thing, but it would be really nice to have no amplifier hiss at any playback rate -- particularly the 44/16 rate where I spend virtually all my listening hours.

Edit: Ah, sounds like this is a known issue with the STX: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/493349/asus-xonar-essence-st-sound-quality-issues/15 -- I did have custom Op-Amps on my ST though, maybe I should try switching them over to the new card and see if that makes a difference.
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Chewi
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the D2X and don't have a hiss problem so I can't comment on that but I have been using Skype a lot this past week and it's been fine with PulseAudio.
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isolationism
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's definitely the card; I just replaced the op amps with the ones I had in my ST and there's no difference; the noise is still there at the same frequencies and it still vanishes when I set other ones.

If you're using Pulse you are almost certainly up/downsampling your audio playback to a common format (usually 48000Hz) which doesn't exhibit the noise problem. It also means that if you listen to any source with a higher bitrate than 48000Hz you'll be downsampling on the fly, which is kind of nasty.

I think I'd still rather have bit perfect audio playback since I do have a bunch of high-definition audio files, but I'm starting to debate the merits of having it upsample to a frequency that doesn't experience the problem when listening to 44.1KHz music. Ugh.
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Chewi
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I set it to 96000 so I'm usually upsampling. Not sure if that's as bad or not. CPU usage is minimal, except with XMMS2 but I suspect the PulseAudio driver for that is badly written.
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isolationism
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, that makes sense -- it is true that virtually no music is mastered above 96KHz (I have one of the few albums that is -- Audiophile Jazz Prologue III -- but I don't listen to it 8 hours a day or anything).

I do wonder what would happen if you set it to 44.1KHz, which is the rate that seems to universally experience the problem (although suspiciously, 88.2KHz experiences it too, which means the issue is almost certainly something to do with that multiple) .

If you ever do find the time to give it a try, I'd love to know what your results are.

For now I think I'm going to make an ALSA alias for switching to upsampled output while listening to 44.1KHz stuff just to avoid the damn hiss, and be able to switch between that and the "bare metal" output when I want bit perfect playback. Annoying, but at least there's a reasonable workaround. Really wish my new computer had a PCI slot, though. :|
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Adman65
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trying to revive this thread. I have the Xonar STX and I can't get it playing. I have the virtuoso module loaded and the card id detected. I see the Multichannel and and digital outputs in 'aplay -l'. I can configure the card in the mixer, but no matter what I cannot get any output out of the headphone jack. I've tried the front panel headphones as well. Did you guys with the STX have to do any fancy alsa configuration? I'm at a loss here. Can you guys post your ALSA configuration if any? Like what card and PCM to use.

EDIT: I've tried the speaker outputs as well. It would seem there is just something preventing the sound from coming out :(

Code:

gentoo ~ # cat /proc/asound/cards
 0 [STX            ]: AV200 - Xonar STX
                      Asus Virtuoso 100 (rev 2) at 0xee00, irq 19


Code:

gentoo ~ # aplay -l
**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: STX [Xonar STX], device 0: Multichannel [Multichannel]
  Subdevices: 0/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: STX [Xonar STX], device 1: Digital [Digital]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0


Code:

gentoo ~ # cat  /proc/asound/version
Advanced Linux Sound Architecture Driver Version 1.0.23.


Code:

gentoo ~ # lsmod | grep snd
snd_pcm_oss            32172  0
snd_mixer_oss          12647  1 snd_pcm_oss
snd_seq_dummy           1247  0
snd_seq_oss            23677  0
snd_seq_midi_event      4794  1 snd_seq_oss
snd_seq                41398  5 snd_seq_dummy,snd_seq_oss,snd_seq_midi_event
snd_virtuoso           25894  3
snd_oxygen_lib         24900  1 snd_virtuoso
snd_pcm                61125  3 snd_pcm_oss,snd_oxygen_lib
snd_timer              15768  2 snd_seq,snd_pcm
snd_page_alloc          6121  1 snd_pcm
snd_mpu401_uart         5059  1 snd_oxygen_lib
snd_rawmidi            15529  1 snd_mpu401_uart
snd_seq_device          4523  4 snd_seq_dummy,snd_seq_oss,snd_seq,snd_rawmidi
snd                    41533  16 snd_pcm_oss,snd_mixer_oss,snd_seq_oss,snd_seq,snd_virtuoso,snd_oxygen_lib,snd_pcm,snd_timer,snd_mpu401_uart,snd_rawmidi,snd_seq_device
soundcore               4470  1 snd


Code:

gentoo ~ # aplay -L   
null
    Discard all samples (playback) or generate zero samples (capture)
default:CARD=STX
    Xonar STX, Multichannel
    Default Audio Device
front:CARD=STX,DEV=0
    Xonar STX, Multichannel
    Front speakers
surround40:CARD=STX,DEV=0
    Xonar STX, Multichannel
    4.0 Surround output to Front and Rear speakers
surround41:CARD=STX,DEV=0
    Xonar STX, Multichannel
    4.1 Surround output to Front, Rear and Subwoofer speakers
surround50:CARD=STX,DEV=0
    Xonar STX, Multichannel
    5.0 Surround output to Front, Center and Rear speakers
surround51:CARD=STX,DEV=0
    Xonar STX, Multichannel
    5.1 Surround output to Front, Center, Rear and Subwoofer speakers
surround71:CARD=STX,DEV=0
    Xonar STX, Multichannel
    7.1 Surround output to Front, Center, Side, Rear and Woofer speakers
iec958:CARD=STX,DEV=0
    Xonar STX, Multichannel
    IEC958 (S/PDIF) Digital Audio Output
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isolationism
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adman65, I have a little bet going with myself that you forgot to connect the internal MOLEX connector that powers the internal amplifier.
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Adman65
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

isolationism wrote:
Adman65, I have a little bet going with myself that you forgot to connect the internal MOLEX connector that powers the internal amplifier.


!!!!! You win. What a sneaky bugger. I've been missing with this for 4 days now. Thanks a lot dude!
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ferrarif5
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey guys,

I recently purchased the Asus Xonar D2X, installed it and had a play and noticed the sound will cut out if I play audio from a different source at the same time, so for example (running through Pulseaudio by the way) if I am playing a song through VLC and then press the front left button in KDE's Phonon speaker setup, VLC's audio goes mute but continues playing to which I have to pause and press play again. Is this due to the lack of hardware mixing? Never had a problem like this with my Creative Soundblaster Live 1024.

2nd problem and the most annoying... How do I enable DTS/Dolby audio with my 5.1 system? It was weird to setup in Windows... had to pop open an Asus utility to tell the spdif port to output in DTS.. is it possible to do this in Linux? Right now I've only got my two front speakers and woofer.

Thanks
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E001754
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there any way in which I could set bass and treble on Kmix?
I did saw screenshot of Kmix where the sliders are available for both treble and bass in Kmix, but not active using the Asus Xonar Essence.

I guess that this comes from the driver, which implements (or not) those two sliders.
On the windows driver of the Xonar Essence, Asus made available a full equalizer, so the bass/treble sliders should be something possible in linux i guess?
Probably that some kernel dev should be warned about this, but where to report that ?

I saw on pulseaudio that they made a "system-wide graphical equalizer" but I'd like finding some easier solutions that switching to pulseaudio only for that reason.

Anyone has an idea on that?
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isolationism
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

E001754,

Bass/Treble are just software features—much like all the surround sound modes. There may be equivalent Linux software that supports the feature, but I have intentionally stayed with sending as "pure" audio as possible to the card, which is probably most of the reason there is no artificial feature support in the drivers: People are buying this sound card for undistorted audio, so introducing features that distort it would be a Bad Thing™.

You'll probably have an easier time shopping for a different card that better suits your needs.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are right. 100% agreed with you when you say that the Essence is designed to provided a "pure direct" sound.
However, I did buy a pair a Focal 705V speakers with a nu-force icon amp so that the Essence can drive real Hi-Fi hardware. Although the speakers does need to be "used" before they really deliver the sound they are designed for, I'm really lacking some bass.

I'm just trying to correct just a bit the sound, in order to reinforce the bass level. No more.

In fact, when googling on alsa-project user's archive mailing list, i did find out a message from 16 jan 2012, where a dev says that a bug lies on the driver of Xonar DX2.
The bug is about a switch that mix the phase with the neutral on the card, and it results in a less deeper bass as it should be.
The correction is on a single line code somewhere in the driver and is even given in the mail.

I do believe that the Xonar DX2 and the essence share the same driver, although I need some additionnal checks to make sure. But if it's true, this could explain the missing bass that I'm feeling with my speakers.

I also have to say that I have to get my hears get used to hear of more "pure" sound than before, when having a subwoofer on an 2.1 PC kit, that was full of basses whatever was the phase mix on the soundcard.
All is said.

I just need to check the exact driver name and perhaps mail the dev so that I can make sure the correction will act also on Essence and not only on the DX2.
I'll let you know very soon.
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isolationism
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please do, particularly if the patch isn't already applied in more recent kernel versions and/or does make a noticeable difference for you.

I have noticed that my wife's computer (which runs Windows) does seem more bass-heavy when listening to the same music; I originally thought it was that her headphones were newer (we both have Ultrasone PRO 750s but mine are a couple years older than hers) but when I tried both on my computer they sounded the same.

I concluded that there must be a software reason for the higher bass and left it at that—although i did fiddle around with the control panel a bit and didn't see anything obvious. So this may be related to the problem—and if it is, it would be nice to get it fixed, particularly if it's just a single line of code that a .patch file could fix.
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E001754
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the time I'm typing this mail, I'm on Windows 7 trying to listen to the same music as I do under linux and figure out if there is a difference.
If there is a difference, it seems slight. 8O
Hard to say, because my speakers are not run in enough, so I don't know who to blame if the speakers don't deliver the sound they should or if other part should also be blamed.

I checked anyway the code of the driver on my kernel sources for 3.0.something and the patch line is missing.
I checked also and the driver is the same between the Essence and the D2 where the problem was reported.
I posted a reply on the mailing asking if the Xonar Essence was impacted by this, as, even in the same driver, one card can be impacted but not the other one.

I would nearly try to patch myself the code, recompile and see if there is a difference. After, it's only one line to insert in a single .c file.

See here the mail that interest us, founded here : http://news.gmane.org/gmane.linux.alsa.user

Quote:

From: Clemens Ladisch <cladisch <at> googlemail.com>
Subject: Re: Asus Xonar DS sound card
Newsgroups: gmane.linux.alsa.user
Date: 2012-01-16 20:09:41 GMT (2 weeks, 1 day, 2 hours and 57 minutes ago)

Orion wrote:
> As for speakers/headphones, the volume drop is found in both. Although
> since I use the analogue outputs at the back, the same ports feeds both
> anyway. I have a 5.1 speaker system and all channels are affected by the
> problem.

There is a problem with the speakers' phase; the front speakers have
inverted polarity. This would result in reduced bass response when there
is the same sound played on all speakers, so this doesn't quite fit your
error description. Anyway, this would be fixed with the patch below,
which will be part of the next (stable) kernel.

Regards,
Clemens
Code:

--- a/sound/pci/oxygen/xonar_wm87x6.c
+++ b/sound/pci/oxygen/xonar_wm87x6.c
@@ -177,6 +177,7 @@ static void wm8776_registers_init(struct oxygen *chip)
    struct xonar_wm87x6 *data = chip->model_data;

    wm8776_write(chip, WM8776_RESET, 0);
+   wm8776_write(chip, WM8776_PHASESWAP, WM8776_PH_MASK);
    wm8776_write(chip, WM8776_DACCTRL1, WM8776_DZCEN |
            WM8776_PL_LEFT_LEFT | WM8776_PL_RIGHT_RIGHT);
    wm8776_write(chip, WM8776_DACMUTE, chip->dac_mute ? WM8776_DMUTE : 0);


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E001754
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As i still had no answer from Alsa dev, I did patch my current kernel by myself.
Less then 20 sec. to paste the line code in the .c file and 2 minutes to recompile the entire kernel and modules and then reboot the computer.

I would say it was true, I feel that I have a little more deeper bass.

Would you try on your side and feed us back with your feeling ?

Thanks.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I'll check it out over the weekend and post back.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I applied the patch, recompiled and rebooted—but I confess I don't hear a difference.

I have some of the most bass-responsive studio cans out there, and tested with some music that has a lot going on in the lower bass-register (e.g. 50-200 Hz), but it doesn't seem any different to me than it sounded without the patch.

I acknowledge that it's possible that the patch only applies to the RCA stereo outputs; I do use those for my speakers, but as they're just Audioengine A5's (and I don't listen to them very often) I doubt I'd notice a bass increase even if there were one, so I will defer on that point.

On the other hand, I haven't experienced any problems yet either.

My feeling is, if you think this patch helps your speakers sound better, there's no harm in leaving it in there. I think the effect may be psychosomatic, or that your speakers are starting to break in and loosen up a bit with all the bassy music you've been testing out with. Either way, the patch is easy to apply (literally one line), so as long as it keeps applying I don't think there's any harm in keeping it there.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

isolationism wrote:
(...)
I think the effect may be psychosomatic, or that your speakers are starting to break in and loosen up a bit with all the bassy music you've been testing out with. Either way, the patch is easy to apply (literally one line), so as long as it keeps applying I don't think there's any harm in keeping it there.


It's psychosomatic, like many things out there !
We never know from where it comes, more probably from speakers loosen more and more up.
But, as you said, the patch is so easy to apply and, either applied or not, don't finally changes anything, why not keeping it !
At least, we tried.
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