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Old 08-08-2005, 11:45 AM   #1
Jaegermeister
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Question Getting AC97 drivers use Realtek ALC850 SPDIF output


Hello, I got a nice Realtek ALC850 chip on my Asus A8V Deluxe mainboard (which sports an amd64 3500+) that has a useful SPDIF connector from which (under W2000) I connect directly to my Onkyo AMP which has a better sound than any pc soundcard around.

I'd like to get this SPDIF to work under linux too (Mepis 3.3.1-1 or, maybe in the future, Gentoo 2005.0), but I'm quite at the beginning about compiling, drivers, etc. so I'd need a hand!

The AC97 driver that Realtek releases for linux can be found here:

http://www.realtek.com.tw/downloads/...&Software=True
ftp://152.104.238.194/pc/ac97/alc650/linux_r32.zip

Apparently, from what I understand, it's some ALSA driver to be compiled against the kernel and then used. This is what the readme inside says:

Quote:
The source code copy from www.alsa-project.org. ver:R3.2
Linux Source Code for ALC audio codec

Installation:
This Source Code is from www.alsa-project.org.
For driver installation, please follow below steps.

Step 1. unzip source code
tar xfvj azx-021705.tar.bz2

Step 2. Turn on sound support (soundcore module, default turn on)

Step 3. Complied source code
a. ./configure
b. make
c. make install
d. ./snddevices

Step 4. Edit your /etc/modules.conf or conf.modules depending on the distribution
(Please refer to the attached modules.conf)

Step 5. reboot your machine

Note: 1. The most detail information, can refer the alsa-kernel/Documenttation/ALSA-Configuration.txt in the azx-021705.tar.bz2.
2. Kernel Version must be 2.2.14 or later.
3. All mixer channels are muted by default. You must use a native
or OSS mixer program to unmute appropriate channels.
4. If can not compile the source code, try to rename the /usr/src/linux-2.x -> /usr/src/linux.
5. The driver added to support the SPDIF functoin.
6. Suggest use alsamixer to control mixer function. you can find it in the alsa-utils-0.9.4 (www.alsa-project.org).
7. a. You can download the alsa-lib-1.0.8 and alsa-utils-1.0.8 form the www.alsa-project.org, then unzip and install them.
b. Used "alsaconf" can autodetect which drive you need to install (step 4).
So here are my questions (sorry for the stupidity ):

1. I never compiled an ALSA driver, where should I put the sources? Maybe /root? ANd, especially, WHY?
2. in the package there's (outside the alsa sources dir) a "core.h" file: what's the aim of it??
3. the package provides a "modules.conf" file with whose contents I think I should replace the parts of the /etc/modules.conf that are related to the now current driver: well, what should I delete and what should I paste???
4. any extra suggestions?

FINAL QUESTION: considering that in the readme it says that all the code is from www.alsa-project.org, is installing all of this necessary or does my distro (Mepis 3.3.1-1) which already uses ALSA has just a simple switch somewhere to activate the SPDIF?

Thanks a lot for your precious attention!
Jaegermeister
 
Old 08-10-2005, 11:20 PM   #2
linux=future
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I use Fedora, but the steps should be similar. For one, your driver you currently have should work fine. You need to enable IEC958 Output. I did this by opening volume control and unmuting the IEC958 Output. Your distro probably has something similar.
 
Old 08-13-2005, 09:46 PM   #3
linux=future
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I addition, just make sure you are using the alsa drivers and not the oss drivers. Only the alsa drivers have IEC958 Output.
 
Old 08-29-2005, 12:27 PM   #4
suteri
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Question

Hello.

I have a A8V motherboard with the same chipset as well. I'm using Debian, so I compiled the alsa drivers (package: alsa-source) along with my kernel and they seem to be working fine, meaning that I can hear sound. The thing that buggers me now, and did with my earlier setup as well, is surround sound. I have a 5.1 surround speaker system, which works fine under Windows. But in linux, I can't seem to get any other sound out except from my front speakers. I have used gnome-alsamixer and put IEC958 and IEC958-output on as mentioned previously, but there is no difference.

What it comes to OSS modules, lsmod | grep snd gives me this:

snd_via82xx 30528 4
snd_ac97_codec 83728 1 snd_via82xx
snd_pcm_oss 57512 1
snd_mixer_oss 20352 3 snd_pcm_oss
snd_pcm 98956 3 snd_via82xx,snd_ac97_codec,snd_pcm_oss
snd_timer 26312 1 snd_pcm
snd_page_alloc 11728 2 snd_via82xx,snd_pcm
gameport 5184 1 snd_via82xx
snd_mpu401_uart 8384 1 snd_via82xx
snd_rawmidi 26752 1 snd_mpu401_uart
snd_seq_device 10064 1 snd_rawmidi
snd 60584 11 snd_via82xx,snd_ac97_codec,snd_pcm_oss,snd_mixer_oss,snd_pcm,snd_timer,snd_mpu401_uart,snd_rawmidi,s nd_seq_device
soundcore 11424 4 snd

I'm afraid I have only little experience in working with sound, I'm usually content if able to hear at least something. Am I running alsa or OSS sound currently? How can I tell? Alsaplayer seems to use OSS output plugin, claiming alsa one isn't available. Perhaps I answered my own question?

Are there any good HOWTOs for dummies in making surround work? I would appreciate any help, even if brief.
 
Old 04-13-2006, 06:22 AM   #5
noranthon
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realtek AC97 driver for kernel 2.6.12-12

I am presently downloading the latest releases by Alsa not knowing whether I can even use them. I have just installed Mandriva 2006. It's a bit of a mess but I want to get something up and running on my new computer. Alsa instructions already installed (so why am I downloading more?) tell me to use ./configure and make install etc without telling me where the files are which respond to those commands. So helpful.

Can anyone tell me how to go about compiling (or whatever the correct term is) a driver for the chipset?
 
Old 04-13-2006, 11:18 AM   #6
linux=future
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Forgive me for not knowing much about mandriva, but doesn't that come preinstalled with alsa? It really should be. Alsa can be compiled directly into the kernel when the kernel is made, and the people who make distros tend to compile about the entire kernel, at least as modules. If this is the case, then trying to compile alsa in the manner you're using will just result in frustation. Been there...
 
Old 04-15-2006, 01:25 AM   #7
noranthon
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Unhappy

Yes. Thanks. Alsa is pre-installed, hence my puzzlement. The system does not recognise the command "alsaconf", which I was able to use under Mandriva 2005 (progress?). I found a text file alsa.conf which purports to give instructions. The first is to use ./configure. Unfortunately, it does not tell you which directory is represented by ./ - I don't know where the files are. I don't know which files to look for. alsa is "installed" but you have to work on it - if you can find the folder to ./configure etc.

Since posting, I've been given the following link by a motherboard manufacturer (Foxconn) which probably does not understand the need for kernel-specific software. It may help, however, so FWIW:
ftp://202.65.194.18/pc/ac97/alc650/r...-3.5-6.tar.bz2
 
Old 04-15-2006, 01:35 PM   #8
linux=future
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Using Ubuntu, alsaconf isn't installed either. Most distos do all that work for you. I guess that I don't know what you need help with...

Alsa is installed, and so is the soundcard. What is the problem you are having with the driver? That particular driver is included with Alsa, so you don't need to install anything else. If you need to turn on the optical out, the command alsamixer will give you all the controls to do this from a terminal. If you use GNOME, then I know that there is a graphical frontend to do the same thing too.

The file that foxconn gave you is just all the alsa packages bundled together. From the readme, it sounds that they are assuming alsa is not installed. The method they use will get it installed, but will only mess up things if it is already installed.
 
Old 04-17-2006, 01:56 AM   #9
noranthon
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What is the problem? (!)

Ok, problem 1: the sound does not work.
2. The system control centre refuses to configure the sound card - tells me to run sndconfig or alsaconf.
3. sndconfig tells me the card is not supported.
4. alsaconf simply will not run. -> bash: no such command.
5. kde control centre: no device detected.

I've just run the installer on an alternative (Suse 10). I had sound for a while but not since. I think the distros' mission must be to make Windows look good.
 
Old 04-17-2006, 10:16 AM   #10
linux=future
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So the problem is with mandriva. If I were you I would switch distros right about now, since suse found it and all. If you're not apt to do that (although it seems that way from what you said about Mandriva in your profile), then what is the model of the card? Integrated into a foxconn motherboard doesn't help much. If you can find it, the part number of the motherboard would be great. If you want to use alsaconf, this is the link:http://www.alsa-project.org/alsa/ftp/driver/alsaconf/
You need to compile it and everything, but it sounds like that shouldn't be a problem for you. Make sure to download the one that matches your version of alsa.

That whole thing about sndconfig saying the card is not supported, especially when suse installed it properly, just really floors me.

Last edited by linux=future; 04-17-2006 at 10:18 AM.
 
Old 04-17-2006, 11:56 PM   #11
noranthon
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Goodbye Mandriva 2006

Yes, thanks. I think the chronology may have got skewed in my posts. alsaconf would not run in Mandriva 2006. It ran on Suse 10 but found no driver until I executed the installer (Alsa-based) to which I referred earlier. I may have two alsa systems installed but I don't care as long as the sound is working. It was comforting when alsa recognised the sound card. After installation, I had to fiddle with the KDE tool to get sound working.

The installer would probably work on Mandriva 2006 also but I've given it up because the number of things wrong kept growing. Having made the switch (but I still hope for better things) to Suse, there are a couple of features from Mandriva 2005 which I miss.

This experience has renewed my interest in having a good look at several distros. Oh for more free time and patience!
 
Old 04-18-2006, 10:13 AM   #12
linux=future
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I'm just sorry I couldn't help you with Mandriva . Enjoy suse though.
 
Old 04-26-2006, 04:51 AM   #13
noranthon
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I've got sound in Mandriva 2006

Thanks for the help. SuSE 10 proved to be a dud. It provided sound only temporarily. It did one encore and that was that. It's got other problems so it's on the backburner.

Meanwhile, I'm closer to using Mandriva 2006. After I ran the installer to which I was pointed by the motherboard manufacturer, Mandriva recognised alsaconf and the driver but produced no sound. ... until I restarted the machine. I'm glad that part, at least, is over.
 
Old 04-30-2006, 03:08 PM   #14
linux=future
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May I recommend Ubuntu? Of course, if it's working now, I would seriously not undo all of that work...
 
Old 05-01-2006, 03:58 AM   #15
noranthon
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Thanks, not Ubuntu. No. Been there - never again. I intend to try Debian Etch some time.

I'm not happy with the attitudes generally displayed by the three distros I've tried. I'd like to see one version that works as well as you know what instead of a new version every 6 or 12 months that does not. And it would be helpful to have a version that could be upgraded to accomodate new software instead of wasting time finding ways around the new bugs that arrive with new versions.

The things that were not working on Mandriva 2005 still don't work in 2006 but, on top of them, other things are broken which were working previously. It is, however, still the only distro which I've been able to get into reasonably working order within a reasonable time.
 
  


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