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This might be a KDE-specific question, but I think it's more system-related, so I'm posting here.
I have two soundcards in my FC4 box: a basic two-channel card connected to small PC speakers, and a more sophisticated multi-channel card for multitrack recording (M-Audio 1010LT), which is connected to various external audio equipment including a monitoring system. My hope, when I installed the second card, was that system sounds (notifications, alarms, etc.) would be routed to the basic card, but I could still do serious audio work on the second card, using JACK.
I was pleasantly surprised when I installed the second card, to find that it worked exactly as I'd hoped it would, i.e. KDE sent all its sounds to the basic card, so I would be able to use the second card with JACK for more complex audio work. Even better was that when I started up amarok to listen to some music, the sound was automatically routed to the better card, and I could listen on the better monitors. I did not have JACK running, and had done nothing intentional to accomplish this. The magic of Fedora Linux!
That was until I recently moved the PC to a different location, and after hooking it back up and rebooting, the function of the cards is now reversed: now KDE's system sounds come out of the second card, and amarok's output is sent to the basic card with its cheap little speakers! Just the opposite of what I want.
So, now I'm forced to figure out how I got lucky the first time around, and what has changed now.
Can anyone give me a clue about how sounds get directed to multiple soundcards (without JACK, that is - this is all about routing sound while JACK is not running). If this really is a KDE thing, then let me know that and I'll take this question elsewhere.
You may need to add index parameters to your /etc/modules.conf (or /etc/modprobe.conf). Alsa doesn't give hardware preferencial treatment the same way as other pci devices. Check the ALSA-Configuration.txt file (part of the kernel documentation) for more information.