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Re: Tool to configure sound

On Thursday 01 November 2007 16:28, Andrew Sackville-West wrote:
> On Thu, Nov 01, 2007 at 01:33:26PM +0100, Richard Lyons wrote:
> > On Thu, Nov 01, 2007 at 12:51:51PM +0100, Florian Kulzer wrote:
> > [...]
> >
> > > I am just following Documentation/sound/alsa/ALSA-Configuration.txt.
> > > The "Documentation" directory is part of the kernel source; you can
> > > also get it separately by installing the linux-doc-... package for your
> > > version of the kernel.
> > >
> > > One source of problems with ALSA is that each driver (snd_hda_intel in
> > > your case) has to support different codec chips (here: ALC883) and that
> > > each codec chip can come in a number of different configurations
> > > ("models"). The ALSA developers are in an "arms race" with the laptop
> > > manufacturers, trying to make sure that the driver recognizes the codec
> > > chip model correctly for the ever-increasing number of laptop models.
> > > In your case no specific codec chip model was declared when the module
> > > was loaded, so the default configuration was chosen. This could mean
> > > that there might be an additional volume control for your chip which is
> > > currently inaccessible to you.
> > >
> > > You can try different codec chip models (e.g. "3stack") by running:
> > >
> > > modprobe -r snd_hda_intel
> > > modprobe snd_hda_intel model=3stack
> >
> > I tried that arbitrarily, but it didn't happen to be the one.  I shall
> > have to read the documentation to see what other options there are.
> I'm not sure if its been mentioned in this thread yet or not, but at
> least some (well, okay, one -- mine!) distinguishes between onboard
> sound and an external amplifier. My rig has two jacks on the front,
> one for headphones and one for external amplifier. For some reason the
> default configuration is to have the external amp *on*. This mutes the
> rest of the sound (even if the channels don't show as muted in
> alsamixer.
> In the event you have this sort of configuration, unless you get an
> external amplifier control in alsamixer, then you've not got the right
> configuration and won't get sound. It took me a while to figure that
> out... mute the external amp, and the rest of sound magically works.
> Florian's idea of moving up to a backported kernel is a good one, IMO.
> A

I think I'd also consider upgrading the alsa driver. I've been on the 
alsa-user list for ages, and most recently on the alsa-devel list. the alsa 
folks are working hard on resolving problems, particularly with hda intel, 
and patches are constantly being applied to the nightly builds of the alsa 
driver, which is available from.

The now current 1.0.15 alsa driver is available from.

Richard is using Debian Etch, and on my Etch using the 2.6.18-5-686 kernel, 
the alsa driver version is showing as 1.0.12rc1 (Thu Jun 22 13:55:50 2006 
UTC). This works fine for my audigy2 soundblaster (emu10k1), but for your 
laptop Richard, if it's the latest, and greatest, you may just have to go 
with upgrading the alsa driver.

I've experimented with upgrading the alsa driver on my Fedora installs, and 
apart from needing to install the kernel-devel package (the kernel headers 
were already installed) there were no problems. With Archlinux I only had the 
kernel headers installed, but a ./configure, make, su to root, and make 
install when cd'd to where the alsa driver was downloaded worked ok.

I'm not sure which packages are required to upgrade the alsa driver on Debian, 
and any help/suggestions would be welcome, not only for me, but perhaps 
Richard also.

2¢ worth of suggestions.


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