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USB soundbar as default audio device

I am trying to set up a USB sound bar on someone else's laptop running
ubuntu 10.10 with a gnome desktop.

Since it did not work out of the box, I thought I'd first enhance my
non-existent skills in this area by first practicising on my machine
with debian ‘lenny’ and no DE environment. 

I discovered rather quickly that what goes on behind the scenes is that
said sound bar is (emulates?) an additional sound card.

As a result, I have to direct each program that produces some form or
other of sound output to use the second audio device rather than the
default builtin sound card.

I am able to get ‘mplayer’ to do this but I have no idea how I could
convince the flash plugin behind my web browser to do this, for

Is there any way I can make the sound bar the system's default and be
done with it?

While testing, I tried redirection when launching programs from the bash
prompt -- i.e. adding ‘/dev/dsp > /dev/dsp1’ -- with unsatisfactory
results: below par sound quality, loud cracks, the speakers go silent
for brief periods of time, etc.

I do not have access to the other laptop right now, but I would assume
gnome has some sort of GUI that lets you specify your default device

Another thing I noticed is that the volume button on the sound bar does
not work: I have to start alsamixer to control the volume, which is not

Does this mean that I am using a default generic audio USB driver for
this device and that I should look for something a bit more specific
that might support additional hardware features?

While I am at it I thought I might as well learn how these things work
and stop guessing :-)

Is there a reliable up-to-date document that you would recommend



P.S. I refrained from posting the 3 pages output by ‘lsusb -vs’. Not
sure if that would help at this point.

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