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Old 11-04-2006, 04:57 PM   #1
Kevschef
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Alsa device recognized (and unmuted!) but won't play sound


Hello everyone

Im trying to make the sound work on an old laptop (with alsa). There's a few things that appear to be OK, but it still wont work

Im running Debian with a kernel i compiled myself a long time ago (2.6.5), with the alsa driver for my soundcard (es1869, driver is es18xx) compiled in (so not as a module). It seems to be recognized when i boot:

dmesg:
Code:
ALSA device list:
  #0: ESS AudioDrive ES1869 at 0x220, irq 5, dma1 1, dma2 3
I believe this is an old ISA card.

I can run alsamixer as root, and setup the device (all unmuted), but 'play' (as root) gives:
Code:
sox: Can't open output file '/dev/dsp': No such device
While ls -al /dev/dps* gives:
Code:
/dev/dsp /dev/dsp0 /dev/dsp1 /dev/dsp2 /dev/dsp3
The permissions are allright. But i believe the dsp device file is for OSS only anyways? I dont want to use OSS. Oh and /dev/snd/ is full of files (plenty of hw, control, midi and pcm files, and seq and timer)

When i run alsamixer as a normal user i get 'alsamixer: function snd_ctl_open failed for default: No such device'

'cat file > /dev/dsp' (as root) gives me 'no such device'
(Is /dev/dsp only for OSS? Because i dont think i have OSS kernel support)

Alsaconf (is this only for modules?) gives me first "No supported PnP of PCI card found", which could be bc it may be ISA, but then when telling alsaconf to probe for legacy ISA cards: "No legacy drivers are available".

Oh and mpg123 tells me 'Can't open default sound device!'. And with alsaplayer, when i open a file it just does not play... and gives 'alsa: xrun' about every ten seconds.

This is where i ran out of ideas... i'm trying to give you all the information you might need to help me fix the problem Any help is greatly appreciated!
 
Old 11-05-2006, 04:23 AM   #2
FredGSanford
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Did you add normal user to audio group?
 
Old 11-05-2006, 07:46 AM   #3
Kevschef
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Thanks for your reply Fredgsanford

Both the normal user and root are part of the audio group.
 
Old 11-07-2006, 04:18 PM   #4
Kevschef
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Anyone an idea?
 
Old 11-07-2006, 04:34 PM   #5
poweredbydodge
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well... that's a tuff one...

I've had mixed soundcard luck thus far.

CMedia chipsets seem to work "plug-n-play" flawlessly. Creative Labs, not so much. Realtek... pretty much plug-n-play. Ess --- never heard of them.

While I don't doubt your ability to compile the kernel properly, I've still got to ask the question -- 'did it ever work with that kernel + distribution + laptop + that particular audio chip in the laptop' ?

If not... then at this point I wouldn't even both, and I'd go get one of those 5 dollar USB-key style (junky - 2 channel or even mono) sound 'cards' from newegg, and have at it.

If yes... then you may have fallen victim to the "99 soundcards but a b**** ain't one" syndrome. This is loosely detailed when you install the hardware and software (whether built into a mass distributed linux kernel or self-compiled into the kernel or even loaded as a module) for a sound card and, then, for some reason, Alsa picks it up as 5 or even 10 different sound cards.

I recently built a Home Theatre PC and wanted a sound card that had a high signal to noise ratio and a moderately high voltage output. Only answer -- Creative Labs. Grabbed an Audigy SE card, stuck it in, built the machine... no sound.

Played with it... found out that Alsa was defaulting to the first of 10 identical 'Creative Labs Audigy' selections available. Some digital, some analog... who knows. It looked like it took every available configuration of the card, and made each configuration into a selectable 'virtual' sound card of its own. Really weird. But, after selecting the right one (2 channel, analog, direct PCM) it worked beautifully, and stayed that way after reboots.

This could be your issue... probably not though, as I've seen it happen only one other time with a completely different kernel and distribution (same version of Alsa though - the 'latest and greatest').

I wish you the best of luck, but, as I said, if all else fails, the 5 dollar plug in audio may be better than nothing.
 
Old 11-07-2006, 09:52 PM   #6
Kevschef
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Hey there poweredbydodge, thanks for the help.

Well the alsa website tells that my ESS soundcard is supported, and i have read others' succes story's, so it must be possible. But i'm thinking i maybe was too selective when compiling the kernel, i left alot of stuff out (eg everything OSS related)... but it was long ago (2 years), so i thought i lost the .config file, but today i found it again! So that'll save me some work when finding out if the kernel is the source of my sound problem.

If it wont work ill consider buying a cheap USB soundcard. I actually never wanted to use my soundcard on the laptop, i only did some word processing and stuff like that, but now kids (and me ) want to play gameboy roms. With sound.

Anyway, thanks, i'll let you know if something interesting comes up.
 
Old 11-08-2006, 12:26 PM   #7
poweredbydodge
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ahh...

yes, you may want to try including Linux-OSS support. my c-media chipsets only work with oss support... even though they're supposed to be alsa friendly.
 
  


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