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maejrep 04-15-2003 09:47 PM

ALSA configuration for 4+ channel sound, RH8
I have been able to load the alsa modules, and with the default config, I was previously able to play a WAV and even an MP3, but the sound comes only from the front 2 channels. I have a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz, with 6 speakers (front, surround, center, and sub).

My question is, what do I have to do in my asound.conf to make the alsa drivers load and use the other channels? I really do not know much about the asound.conf (or ~/.asoundrc) file, and what the settings mean, and there really isn't a very in-depth guide that I have been able to find.

I copied most of what I have from the asoundrc link on, with a few changes that I thought were relavent. I can hear a sound when the module is loaded, and yes I have unmuted and set the volume on the mixer, and now I'm getting no sound, period, even tho everything indicates that the drivers are working properly. Basically, if anyone has an example asound.conf that I can go by, I think I can figure it out to work with my card.

in /proc/asound/CS46xx/ I have 3 playback devices, I assume to be "Front L/R", "Rear L/R", and "Center/Sub".

I also see this in my alsa.conf, but I dont know what it means, or if I can use it in my asound.conf:

# some links for easy use
pcm.front cards.pcm.front
pcm.rear cards.pcm.rear
pcm.center_lfe cards.pcm.center_lfe
This is part of my asound.conf, as it stands now, after trying to get the other channels to work:

pcm.pcm_front {
type hw
card 0
device 0
ctl.pcm_front {
type hw
card 0
device 0
pcm.pcm_rear {
type hw
card 0
device 1
ctl.pcm_rear {
type hw
card 0
device 1
pcm.multi {
type multi;
slaves.a.pcm pcm_front;
slaves.a.channels 2;
slaves.b.pcm pcm_rear;
slaves.b.channels 2;
bindings.0.slave a; 0;
bindings.1.slave a; 1;
bindings.2.slave b; 0;
bindings.3.slave b; 1;
ctl.multi {
type hw;
card 0;
Can anyone see a mistake I've made, or know how I can fix this? :(

Thanks a lot

maejrep 04-15-2003 10:28 PM

Ok, using:
aplay -D pcm.front test.wav
(pcm.front being that phrase in alsa.conf that I was curious about), I am able to play the sound in the front, and using:
aplay -D pcm.rear test.wav
it plays from the rear. Trying:
aplay -D pcm.center_lfe test.wav
(center/lfe is the center+sub. I remember the windows mixer calls the sub "LFE"), I get the following error:

$ aplay -D pcm.center_lfe test.wav
ALSA lib pcm.c:1785:(snd_pcm_open_conf) Invalid type for PCM pcm.center_lfe definition (id: center_lfe, value: cards.pcm.center_lfe)
aplay: main:480: audio open error: Invalid argument
And I dont know what that means :-/

On a lighter note, the sound quality now is at least 2x better than it was the last time I squeezed noise out of it :D

These are the two things I have left to do:

1) Figure out how to use the pcm.center_lfe
2) Figure out how to get all of these devices to play at one time. (pcm.front + pcm.rear + pcm.center_lfe)

Any ideas?

boomer_214 07-19-2003 12:31 PM

I have been having some trouble getting anything to emit from the rear speakers of my Santa Cruz on Slackware 9.

Alsa 0.9.5 drivers are loaded and all games, xmms, and cd play fine from front 2 speakers. The 'aplay' command doesn't seem to work, nor alsamixer:

boomer@vlan-1:~[> aplay -D hw:0,0 test.wav
aplay: main:484: audio open error: No such file or directory

boomer@vlan-1:~[> aplay -D cs46xx test.wav
aplay: main:484: audio open error: No such file or directory

boomer@vlan-1:~[> alsamixer
alsamixer: function snd_ctl_open failed for default: No such file or directory

my ~/.asoundrc file is still basic from the faq for the Santa Cruz:

pcm.cs46xx {
type hw
card 0

ctl.cs46xx {
type hw
card 0

modules loaded:

snd-seq-midi 4096 0 (autoclean) (unused)
snd-seq-oss 29088 0 (unused)
snd-seq-midi-event 3616 0 [snd-seq-midi snd-seq-oss]
snd-seq 37424 2 [snd-seq-midi snd-seq-oss snd-seq-midi-event]
snd-pcm-oss 39108 0
snd-mixer-oss 13528 2 [snd-pcm-oss]
usb-uhci 23212 0 (unused)
snd-cs46xx 71996 2
snd-ac97-codec 40968 0 [snd-cs46xx]
snd-rawmidi 14016 0 [snd-seq-midi snd-cs46xx]
snd-seq-device 4304 0 [snd-seq-midi snd-seq-oss snd-seq snd-rawmidi]
snd-pcm 62016 0 [snd-pcm-oss snd-cs46xx]
snd-timer 14820 0 [snd-seq snd-pcm]
snd 30564 0 [snd-seq-midi snd-seq-oss snd-seq-midi-event snd-seq snd-pcm-oss snd-mixer-oss snd-cs46xx snd-ac97-codec snd-rawmidi snd-seq-device snd-pcm snd-timer]
snd-page-alloc 6420 0 [snd-cs46xx snd-pcm]

any hints pointing in the right direction would be appriciated, thanks.

maejrep 07-28-2003 08:53 PM

Well, do you have the initialization script for alsa installed? Try ls -l /proc/asound
You should see something like:
dr-xr-xr-x 6 root root 0 Jul 28 19:50 asound

If you don't have a /proc/asound/ then alsa is not loaded.

Also, does the error change if you use aplay without a -D argument? The driver itself is pretty straight forward, in gentoo at least.

mossy 08-27-2003 01:52 AM

Here's my input - joys and problems with ALSA as a fix for FLASH and REALPLAYER problems:

]# ls -l /proc/asound
total 0
dr-xr-xr-x 4 root root 0 Aug 27 01:45 card0
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 0 Aug 27 01:45 cards
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 0 Aug 27 01:45 devices
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 0 Aug 27 01:45 modules
dr-xr-xr-x 2 root root 0 Aug 27 01:45 oss
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 0 Aug 27 01:45 pcm
dr-xr-xr-x 2 root root 0 Aug 27 01:45 seq
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 5 Aug 27 01:45 SI7012 -> card0
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 0 Aug 27 01:45 timers
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 0 Aug 27 01:45 version

maejrep 08-27-2003 11:58 PM

Err, ... No offence, but how exactly does that relate to this? My question has nothing to do with not having sound, because I do have sound, and it sounds great, and alsa detects my card as exactly what it is, and alsa loads all the modules it's supposed to, and yada yada... I want to have all channels playing simultaneously -- that is my problem, and my question. NO ONE has been able to answer this question for me, and as you can see, it's been over four months now since i've started looking. the alsa-user list is useless for me, none of the alsa developers will answer my emails. I've even gone as far as to email people who have written comments about the cs46xx card as far back as 4 years ago. I appreciate your attempt, but even the fact that your sound card uses a completely different driver than mine shows that it doesn't really help me any... I mean there are cards that use the same driver as my santa cruz (cs46xx), and work fundamentally different, to the point that the mixer is completely different, and the surround sound works out-of-the-box, whereas mine obviously does not.

It might be worth pointing out that since the start of this thread, I've switched to gentoo, and yes again, ALSA works fine, and I still have sound, but I still can't get the rear to play along with everything else.

Any other suggestions?

mossy 08-28-2003 01:14 PM

Well none taken, it was kinda more in response to boomer_214 trying to get the alsamixer going - I have the same problem.

maejrep - my roomie managed to get his surround sound working - that was the reason for his upgrade to ASLA and his works. I think he had to get on IRC to get it working - have you tried the guys on IRC? In the meantime I will ask him about it for you when he gets off work. He may have some suggestions for you.

maejrep 08-28-2003 01:50 PM

Ohhh heh, I see. Sorry, guess I just misunderstood what you were referring to.

So far, the only way I've been able to get all 3 devices to output simultaneously is by opening 3 instances of xmms (yes, that's a joke, but yes I did do that and it sounded pretty decent :p)

Basically, the only thing I can come up with is that surround sound for this card is tricky... There are several sound cards that work with alsa, and all you do is plug it in and the surround works fine. There are other cards where the mixer has a switch to mirror front channels to the rear. My mixer has surround, center, lfe, etc, but they only work if something is playing back on those devices.

mossy 08-28-2003 09:56 PM

No prob maejrep. I checked with the roomie - he says once he finally got ALSA installed all he had to do was adjust the volumes with alsa mixer. There is a setting for surround sound. Also it could just be the mixer you are using - if alsa is not doing it try downloading other mixers from and see if those mixer's do anything. Sorry that I can't be of more help.

linux newbie 2.0

boomer_214 09-14-2003 07:11 PM

root@vlan-1:/home/boomer[> ls -l /proc/asound
total 0
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 5 Sep 14 18:14 CS46xx -> card0
dr-xr-xr-x 8 root root 0 Sep 14 18:14 card0
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 0 Sep 14 18:14 cards
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 0 Sep 14 18:14 devices
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 0 Sep 14 18:14 modules
dr-xr-xr-x 2 root root 0 Sep 14 18:14 oss
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 0 Sep 14 18:14 pcm
dr-xr-xr-x 2 root root 0 Sep 14 18:14 seq
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 0 Sep 14 18:14 timers
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 0 Sep 14 18:14 version

I suppose I don't have an initialization script, but everything still works (except rear sound). I followed the alsa howto for the Santa Cruz at:

but they did not mention an init script.

> Also, does the error change if you use aplay without a -D argument?

No, no change.

Haiyadragon 09-15-2003 09:52 AM

Did u try mplayer with 6 channels (gmplayer -channels 6), doesn't work for me it says: invalid argument. But maybe it works for u.

shock_ez 03-24-2004 08:47 PM

Ok...old thread...maybe I can revive it
I get the same exact problem as others here. I use the CSxx chipset (Hercules GTXP) and I can't get my Sub channel or my Center channel to work. If I play a rear test sound or a front test sound, they work, but if I do this:

aplay -D pcm.center_lfe test.wav, I get the following error:

quote:$ aplay -D pcm.center_lfe test.wav
ALSA lib pcm.c:1785snd_pcm_open_conf) Invalid type for PCM pcm.center_lfe definition (id: center_lfe, value: cards.pcm.center_lfe)
aplay: main:480: audio open error: Invalid argument

Has anyone managed to figure out why it does this? I really want subwoofer support... :(

dopehouse 05-03-2004 02:30 PM

Terratec SixPack 5.1+ No Sound from Surround and Subwoofer
Hey Guys, let me join you because i have a souncard with the cs46xx too. That stupid damm think won't work with all channels at the same time. Is there anybody with an working configuration. I got an eMail from the Terratec Supportcenter an someone writes(german):

Mein persönlicher Bereich ist Microsoft-Frei, eine SIxpack lief bis
vor kurzem ebenfalls dort mit den normalen Alsa-Treibern auf Kernel
2.4.24 (Debian) ohne Probleme.
Es gibt von uns für dieses Produkt leider keine offizuellen Treiber,
allerdings ist die Karte perfekt von de OpenSource-Community

The supporter told me the is perfectly supported by the OpenSource-Community :scratch: :p

Can anybody tell me where i can find the community that supports this car :Pengy:

I give you 3month (end date Aug. 3th, 2004) after that i buy me a new soundcard with surround support under linux.


shock_ez 05-05-2004 09:44 PM

Unfortunately, I have yet to solve my problem.

The only way I ever got all channels working at once was to use the Optical Out. Maybe you'd have luck doing that with your Terratec? Unfortunately for me, I no longer have an amplifier with an Optical in, so no luck for me...

maejrep 06-02-2004 09:31 AM

I still haven't gotten anywhere with it, and it's been over a year now. The front channel works, and the subwoofer works just by design (it plays the low frequencies, regardless of what "channel" the signal is really coming from). So with those two and the sub, it sounds ok still, but I'd really like to add the other 3 speakers to the mix. I read something about the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz not working properly, and there's no way to just use the copy plugin to copy the front channel to the rear :(

If anyone knows of an advancement made recently (I'm using alsa 1.0.3 right now), I'd love to hear about it :|

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