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After spending 2 days googling to no avail, I ask for your expertise.
Problem: New install of Mandrake 10 is causing poor sound quality in all sound/video applications. Soundcard C-Media Electronics on board sound card (CM8738)
Tried: Alsaconf, changing volumes in Alsamixer, installing different sound programs
Sound seems to be less distorted in the upper frequencies.
Xmms will crash when I use the Output plugin AlSA 1.2.9 output plugin (libALSA.so), but will work when I use OSS Driver 1.2.7 (libOSS.so). When Xmms crashes it outputs the following message:
Hrm, that's interesting, looks like the driver's loading all right. You might try checking your /var/log/syslog file to see if alsa says anything interesting in there when it gets loaded. Any warnings or errors in particular would be nice. I know the driver for my card doesn't support anything over 48kHz, and that caused some quality problems until I changed some settings. Perhaps your problem is something similar that the syslog would reveal.
If you can't figure out anything to fix alsa, you can edit your /etc/modules.conf file. It'll hopefully have a line something like:
alias sound-slot0 snd-cmipci
just remove the "snd-" so you just have "alias sound-slot0 cmipci" and reboot to try that. It'll try using the older OSS driver instead of the newer ALSA one; you might have better luck with that. Any modules you see that start with "snd-" are alsa modules.
Other than that, uh... check out the documentation for the cmipci and snd-cmipci drivers, see if they list any known issues. That's about all I can think of. Hope it helps.