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SOLVED: Soundcard volume too low using AC'97 onboard chip

I'm copying the Debian-User list so this solution will go into the archives.

Problem: I have a Gateway E-3400 with an onboard AC'97 sound chip. Using the ALSA drivers I was able to get the card working, but with very low volume. Hanasaki, below, had the same problem on his ASUS K7M board. If anyone can decipher MaD dUCK's email address below, you might forward a copy of this message on to him.


I purged all alsa packages (ran dselect, searched for 'alsa', purged 'em all).

apt-get install kernel-package

Downloaded the 2.4.3 kernel source.

Unzipped, untarred, created 'linux' softlink to the new /usr/src/kernel-source-2.4.3 tree.

Changed into the /usr/src/linux tree and ran 'make menuconfig'

In the SOUND section. "M" on "Sound Card Support"

"M" on the "Intel ICH (I8xx) audio support"

Exited and saved the config.

Ran 'make-kpgk kernel_image'

Ran 'dpkg -i /usr/src/kernel-image-2.4.3_Custom.1.00_i386.deb', without running LILO.

Checked my '/etc/lilo.conf' file and the '/vmlinuz*' softlinks to make sure everything looked okay; ran LILO.


Had to do some tinkering; don't remember what all, but the basic solution at this point was to 'modprobe i810_audio'.

'lsmod' returns:
Module                  Size  Used by
i810_audio             13008   1
ac97_codec              7744   0  [i810_audio]
soundcore               4016   2  (autoclean) [i810_audio]

splay works great; xmix works great; xmms works great. RealPlayer plays in fast forward mode, so it's useless, but I've made a lot of progress.


hanasaki wrote:

or something we both did... grin.

Keep my addy in case you figure it out.  Thanks.

Kent West wrote:

hanasaki wrote:

I have the same card with my onboard ASUS K7M sound.  Its blaring lound
on M$ and on Linux its very quiet.  The sound level controls dont work

Ah, thanks for letting me know; it helps to know that it's not something
I've done . . . .


Kent West wrote:

MaD dUCK wrote:

mh. another problem. so this one computer was running win98 with one
of those crappy winmodem/soundcard combo (conexant riptide) junk
things, but it was playing mp3's through a set of passive speakers at
a loud volume.

after failing to get that piece of crap soundcard to work, i installed
a SB PCI 128 and got it working. however, the volume is very low. i
used aumix and set it to 100% on all channels, but it's barely
audible. i don't assume that the SB PCI 128 looses to the conexant
crap, so there ought to be a way to push this up... output gain or
something like that. do you have any idea where or how i could set

i am using the es1371.o kernel module or the snd-card-ens1371.o alsa
module (both work, both give the same volume) (SB PCI 128 uses the
ensoniq 1371 chipset).


martin;              (greetings from the heart of the sun.)
  \____ echo mailto: !#^."<*>"|tr "<*> mailto:"; net@madduck

I don't have a solution, but thought I'd let you know I have the same
problem with an integrated sound "card" on a new computer from Gateway.
All that Gateway was able to tell me was that it was an "AC '97" chip. I
figured I'd just live with it for now. I'm using the i810 (or whatever
it is -- I don't have access to that computer at the moment) module
instead of es1371.

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