Hmmm... I have it up and running on a testing system, and the sound works fine. CD player, Free Civ, and all the annoying system notificaitons sounds come through loud and clear. Then again, my soundcard was detected at install.
There's a ton of kernel how-tos all over the web. Especially << www.tldp.org
Basic'ly, it's install source, make menuconfig (or xconfig), make deps, make bzImage, make modules, make modules_install, make install. Hmmm... Now, that I'm typing it, I realise I haven't done a 2.6.x kernel, so I'm not sure if it's the same.
PS -- Test 2 is scheduled to be out on the 8th. Not too long to wait.