Ross Boylan <RossBoylan@stanfordalumni.org> writes:
> I've been trying to get some sound out of my Linux system, and am pretty
> baffled. I gather there are several different ways to do it, and would
> like to know if there is a preferred one. I have an ISA AWE-64
> soundblaster on a 2.2.17 kernel
> 1) The Mini-Howto on SB is a bit old, and it's not clear to me if it's
> still applicable. At any rate, it is not directed at Debian packages.
> The main Sound How-To is current, but again isn't addressed to Debian
Lots of docs on the sb cards. See e.g.
Might not talk about the awe64 but from AFAIK from linux's perspective
awe64 == awe32.
I don't use any midi/synth stuff so I don't care about this.
> 2) I had decided (based on it's own description? or the fact that it
> seemed to be more loadable than the alternatives? it's been awhile) that
> the Alsa system was the way to go. However, there are various pieces,
> and their interrelations are not clear to me (base, library, modules,
> drivers, utililties, ...). There didn't seem to be a "task" or a good
> package (I had hoped the utilities might do it) which will pull
> everything in.
> The modules that are there are for a much earlier version of the kernel
> than potato uses, and there doesn't seem to be anything for the current
> one. Joey H asked about this a few weeks ago. My interpretation of the
> response was that alsa was packaged so you had to get the source and
> build from it.
> One of the attractions of the module based approach seemed to me that one
> didn't need to go recompiling things to get them to work, so this didn't
> grab me much.
I switched to ALSA (from the default OSS-lite stuff) when I started
playing with sound recording. OSS-lite does not do full-duplex
(e.g. recording a guitar track while playing along to a bass track)
with the awe64. ALSA does. Supposedly the commercial OSS does as well
but the demo I d/l'ed wouldn't install on any debian system so I
highly disrecommend them.
I could only get ALSA working The Hard Way. That is, d/l the latest
sources from http://www.alsa-project.org, compile the drivers, libs,
and utils, and tweak /etc/modutils/* until success. This took me
about 1.5 days. One day, unsuccessfully, without reading the
docs. Then half a day while reading the docs on the ALSA site. (Be
sure to read all the howto's there. It'll take an hour or so but well
worth it imho).
In short, yes, it's a pain in the ass. Linux is a pain in the
ass. Computers are a pain in the ass. Life is a pain in the
If, OTOH, you get it working just by apt-getting a bunch of debs, more
power to you.
> Also, I would like to know a simple test to see if sound is
apt-get install saytime
> I'm hoping there's an analogy to, for example, exim. There are lots of
> mail transports, but there's one that's encouraged and (sort of) easy to
> set up. So I'd appreciate any pointers. By the way, the hardware emits
> sounds on other OS's, so I know everything is hooked up.
Yeah I guess it really depends on what you need. If you just want to
listen to mp3's or whatever then the default driver module that comes with
the kernel should work fine.
If you want to do sound recording, I'd suggest getting a better
card. I will as soon as I find some cash. The sb awe64 has bogus
full-duplex: one of the channels is only 8 bits wide. Of course they
don't tell you this when you buy it.
So far I've managed to make my machine do almost decent sound recording,
but the effort to get things going just sucked all the creative energy
out of my playing.
I don't think this is just a linux thing, I think
all computers are evil and suck the life out of people.
Gotta go read my mail now
- From: Ross Boylan <RossBoylan@stanfordalumni.org>