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Mandrake still uses the alsa sound modules, which is different than all of the other distros. They're pretty nifty, but they're outside the kernel so it adds a level of complexity that I guess the other distros don't want to bother with.
I just looked through the kernel configs thinking maybe there was a different way to compile the normal kernel modules to support a different number of speakers, but that seems to be only for a specific set of cmedia cards.
These options may exist with alsa, but I haven't got a machine running them to find out for certain. You can poke around the alsa FAQs over at sourceforge. This would mean recompiling ALSA, which may be a bit daunting.
The easier route, and hopefully it will work, is to just go under multimedia in whatever your GUI is, knowing Mandy, probably KDE, and mess with the mixer settings, hopefully it will have different balance levels for each speaker line out.
Not really, you've got much nicer sound than I'de guess, about 95% of the forum. This is probably going to have to be hammered through in a new compile. You could check the ALSA docs and google for similar problems, there have to be plenty of audiophiles with somewhat the same rig.
You could also try ditching ALSA and see how the regular kernel module, emu10k1, treats you.
I've got Mandrake 9.1 .. and I'm going nuts abut this thing. misplacedQ, have you gotten anywhere? I've tried switching drivers, downloading emu-tools ... is there any other hope of gettign my rear speakers working other than maybe trying another distro?
Now, you're using opensource emu10k1 drivers ( http://opensource.creative.com ), not ALSA (as far as I know ALSA does not have rear speaker support, but it has MIDI support, unlike emu10k1)
Two things you have to check: mixer (you said you checked it, but check again; the rear speaker volume is not neccesarily called like that - in my mixer program (i use wmmixer) there are at least five volume bars with a question mark and only one changes this setting)
second you have to recheck the coniguration (/usr/local/etc ) and run the emu-script. This will potentially add the missing mixer entries, and if you check the /usr/local/etc/emu10k1.conf file you'll find a section which deals with lowering the volumes on the rear speakers (which obviouslly has to be set to NO).
I'm sure if you check these things you'll get it right...
well, after a night and a day of asking around and stuff I eventually found that among the many sliders in alsamixer ... if I set my drivers to alsa there was soemthing that actually brought volume to my rear speakers ... I'm still rather obsessed that because of me not having the clear control of the sounds and effects I had in windows ... well, my mind is obsessing about the sound sounding different. I never do know what I should have for PCM ... if this is the front speakers volume, or what .. and if it's high .. then I think I get distorsions ....
but I really appreciate your reply and will store it to have a look. thanks.
though i use slackware, i have an sblive 5.1, and i use alsa,
i discovered by fiddling with all mixer settings, that PCM
somehow controls the balance between front and rear
speakers; setting pcm to 100% turns my rear speakers
off; it is not a perfect balance though, since i have set
my pcm mixer value to approx 70% to reach the audible
sweet spot (where rear and front seem to cancel eachother
out and make sound appear to come from all around me
without me hearing it more from front or more from rear
i posted a detailed step by step install guide on how to get
alsa working with emu10k1 in combination with a bttv tv-card
in another thread - just search for alsa and it should come
up - the thread was started by deaddreamer if i am not
mistaken ; it also mentions that pcm for me controls the
balance and allows me to hear sound properly through my
as for the center speaker - you can try toggling 'sigmatel
4 speaker surround' in the alsa mixer which seems to
activate it (or just play a dvd with dolby sound to hear
sound through it).