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Old 09-01-2006, 09:41 AM   #1
Caesar Tjalbo
Registered: Aug 2006
Location: Enschede, The Netherlands
Distribution: sidux
Posts: 91

Rep: Reputation: 16
Question [solved more or less]Soundblaster not working, Alsa driver missing?

A newbie with a newbie problem. I've tried to work it out myself and think I'm on to the solution but I'd like to hear the opinion of a more experienced Linux user. Excuse me if I provide too much useless info and not the essentials, I'm really struggling with this matter but you'll see that if you take the trouble of reading this.

Problem: No sound
Possible reasons, not yet considered:
- Sound is kaput but wasn't last week under Windows
- I'm on a Dell

OS: CentOS 4.4
Kernel: 2.6.9-42.0.2.EL

lspci (part):
02:00.0 Multimedia audio controller: Creative Labs [SB Live! Value] EMU10k1X
02:00.1 Input device controller: Creative Labs [SB Live! Value] Input device controller
This corresponds with the info I found on the Alsa site, LQ's HCL reports no compatibility issues with GNU/Linux.

I've checked KMix, AlsaMixer and the Gnome sound util but it only gives me a slider for an USB input device. On start-up or changing sound settings I typically get a warning like this (or closely resembling it):
Sound server informational message:
Error while initializing the sound driver:
device: default can't be opened for playback (No such file or directory)
The sound server will continue, using the null output device.
lsmod (part):
snd_usb_audio          59681  0
snd_pcm_oss            49401  0
snd_mixer_oss          18241  1 snd_pcm_oss
snd_pcm                97225  2 snd_usb_audio,snd_pcm_oss
snd_timer              30149  1 snd_pcm
snd_page_alloc          9929  1 snd_pcm
snd_usb_lib            12225  1 snd_usb_audio
snd_rawmidi            26853  1 snd_usb_lib
snd_seq_device          8265  1 snd_rawmidi
snd                    55973  7 snd_usb_audio,snd_pcm_oss,snd_mixer_oss,snd_pcm,snd_timer,snd_rawmidi,snd_seq_device
soundcore              10017  1 snd
Based on this my guess is I need to load snd-emu10k1, is that correct?

On the other hand, the system does 'know' something about this:
modinfo snd-emu10k1
filename:       /lib/modules/2.6.9-42.0.2.EL/kernel/sound/pci/emu10k1/snd-emu10k1.ko
author:         Jaroslav Kysela <>
description:    EMU10K1
license:        GPL
parm:           index:Index value for the EMU10K1 soundcard.
parm:           id:ID string for the EMU10K1 soundcard.
parm:           enable:Enable the EMU10K1 soundcard.
parm:           extin:Available external inputs for FX8010. Zero=default.
parm:           extout:Available external outputs for FX8010. Zero=default.
parm:           seq_ports:Allocated sequencer ports for internal synthesizer.
parm:           max_synth_voices:Maximum number of voices for WaveTable.
parm:           max_buffer_size:Maximum sample buffer size in MB.
parm:           enable_ir:Enable IR.
vermagic:       2.6.9-42.0.2.EL 686 REGPARM 4KSTACKS gcc-3.4
depends:        snd-pcm,snd-ac97-codec,snd-util-mem,snd-page-alloc,snd-rawmidi,snd,snd-hwdep,snd-seq-device
alias:          pci:v00001102d00000002sv*sd*bc*sc*i*
alias:          pci:v00001102d00000004sv*sd*bc*sc*i*
alias:          pci:v00001102d00000008sv*sd*bc*sc*i*
Which confuses me. There is a relevant Alsa page about this driver but I have to admit that I don't understand most (all) of what's been explained there and what I need to do with it. The page on how to get emu10k1 installed is:
The solution as it seems to me would be to do something like modprobe snd-emu10k1, perhaps with some parameters (I haven't done anything like this before, CentOS installs effortlessly). Probably also the missing drivers listed behind "depends" (like snd-ac97-codec).
Is this correct?

And if that's the way, I probably need to change some config files too. This bit bothers me a little because I don't have anything resembling modules.conf in /etc. Does anyone have an idea about that?

I'd be really thankful if someone could provide some guidance in this matter. I'll provide additional information when needed of course, tell me what _and_ how please

Last edited by Caesar Tjalbo; 09-06-2006 at 05:30 AM.
Old 09-01-2006, 09:59 AM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: London
Distribution: Arch - Latest
Posts: 1,522

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Hmm looks like a problem i had when i started out on a Dell, the card is a soundblaster live, but it's OEM made by Dell, and therefore the standard emu10k didnt work for it (which pissed me off no end).

Anyway that's probably no relation to your post, it looks like you need to load the modules yep.

A good place for alsa help is the arch wiki , it's got a bit about loading modules, always works for me -

You should just be able to load the modules then test the sound device with whatever you want (making sure you unmute the channels)
Old 09-01-2006, 05:54 PM   #3
Caesar Tjalbo
Registered: Aug 2006
Location: Enschede, The Netherlands
Distribution: sidux
Posts: 91

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 16
Thanks for the link, it made installing the modules real easy. I still don't have sound however.

The modules look good:
# lsmod | grep '^snd'
snd_emu10k1_synth       7873  0
snd_emux_synth         39233  1 snd_emu10k1_synth
snd_seq_virmidi         6849  1 snd_emux_synth
snd_seq_midi_event      8257  1 snd_seq_virmidi
snd_seq_midi_emul       6721  1 snd_emux_synth
snd_seq                58321  4 snd_emux_synth,snd_seq_virmidi,snd_seq_midi_event,snd_seq_midi_emul
snd_emu10k1            93769  1 snd_emu10k1_synth
snd_ac97_codec         64145  1 snd_emu10k1
snd_util_mem            5057  2 snd_emux_synth,snd_emu10k1
snd_hwdep              10181  2 snd_emux_synth,snd_emu10k1
snd_usb_audio          59681  2
snd_pcm_oss            49401  0
snd_mixer_oss          18241  1 snd_pcm_oss
snd_pcm                97225  3 snd_emu10k1,snd_usb_audio,snd_pcm_oss
snd_timer              30149  2 snd_seq,snd_pcm
snd_page_alloc          9929  2 snd_emu10k1,snd_pcm
snd_usb_lib            12225  1 snd_usb_audio
snd_rawmidi            26853  3 snd_seq_virmidi,snd_emu10k1,snd_usb_lib
snd_seq_device          8265  5 snd_emu10k1_synth,snd_emux_synth,snd_seq,snd_emu10k1,snd_rawmidi
snd                    55973  17 snd_emux_synth,snd_seq_virmidi,snd_seq,snd_emu10k1,snd_ac97_codec,snd_hwdep,snd_usb_audio,snd_pcm_oss,snd_mixer_oss,snd_pcm,snd_timer,snd_rawmidi,snd_seq_device
It's what I thought it should look like. The directory of /dev/snd looks a bit different from the example on wiki.archlinux:
ls -l
total 0
crw-------  1 root root 116,  0 Sep  1 23:23 controlC0
crw-------  1 root root 116, 32 Sep  1 23:23 controlC1
crw-------  1 root root 116, 24 Sep  1 23:23 pcmC0D0c
crw-------  1 root root 116, 56 Sep  1 23:23 pcmC1D0c
crw-------  1 root root 116, 48 Sep  1 23:23 pcmC1D0p
crw-------  1 root root 116,  1 Sep  1 21:31 seq
crw-------  1 root root 116, 33 Sep  1 23:23 timer
I've tried some different users, groups and permissions to no avail.

Interesting enough though, when I plugged in a Logitech USB headset + mic (that's device 1) it did give me all the sliders etc in AlsaMixer and KMix. The volumecontrol works on the headset (I can tell by the static noise) but I can't hear music as every music player wants to use the 'default' device.
In KMix I can see sliders for both devices. Device 0 only has an input slider, device 1 has output + input sliders. Dev 1 is properly recognized as Logitech USB Headset but dev 0 is called "USB Device 0x46d:0x8b2". That seems odd to me, I'd have thought it would be something like "Soundblaster Live value" or just "default".
Is "USB Device 0x46d:0x8b2" the correct name or does that indicate the hardware detection failed for my soundcard?

Edit: modprobe.conf looks like this:
alias snd-card-1 snd-usb-audio
remove snd-usb-audio { /usr/sbin/alsactl store >/dev/null 2>&1 || : ; }; /sbin/modprobe -r --ignore-remove snd-usb-audio
install pwc /sbin/modprobe --ignore-install pwc && /usr/sbin/alsactl restore >/dev/null 2>&1 || :
remove pwc { /usr/sbin/alsactl store >/dev/null 2>&1 || : ; }; /sbin/modprobe -r --ignore-remove pwc
alias usb-controller ehci-hcd
alias usb-controller1 uhci-hcd

Last edited by Caesar Tjalbo; 09-01-2006 at 06:08 PM.
Old 09-03-2006, 02:47 AM   #4
Registered: Jun 2005
Posts: 200

Rep: Reputation: 35
Dell soundcard

You did almost everything well except you need snd-emu10k1x driver instead. It's a special driver for dell soundcard.
you can get it here

and install it with

tar -xjvf alsa-driver- (latest version)
cd alsa-driver-xxx
./configure --with-cards=emu10k1x --with-sequencer=yes;make;make install;make clean

depmod -a (Loads the compiled modules)

after that you need permissions
chmod 777 /dev/mixer
chmod 777 /dev/mixer0
chmod 777 /usr/bin/alsamixer
chmod 777 -R /dev/snd

If your soundcard is digital then you need to turn on the alsamixer Analong/Digital Output Jack switch to on. And use digial speakers
Old 09-04-2006, 05:30 AM   #5
Caesar Tjalbo
Registered: Aug 2006
Location: Enschede, The Netherlands
Distribution: sidux
Posts: 91

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 16
Thank you whk, that's spot on.

With the help of people on a different forum I found that out aswell (yesterday).
My first problem was having a USB webcam hooked up and with all the searching for a solution to my problem I never came past this issue.
I was aware of issues with a Dell but with the webcam attached the OS install advised emu10k1 in stead of emu10k1X which doesn't seem that strange compared to the Alsa hardware list.
I've done a re-install of the OS and card and driver are recognized (as it should, it's not really a 'bleeding edge' soundcard, more 'bottom edge' in fact) but it's still not working. I'll try this again but now after a night's sleep and not just before that
Will post my findings.
Old 09-06-2006, 05:29 AM   #6
Caesar Tjalbo
Registered: Aug 2006
Location: Enschede, The Netherlands
Distribution: sidux
Posts: 91

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 16

Compilation gave me errors, repeated tries following procedures mentioned above and on Alsa site. I simply lack the experience to solve these issues so I tried a different approach.
But first: CentOS comes pretty complete with Anaconda able to identify my hardware and the appropriate driver. I assume the responsible RPMs are ported exactly like the RHEL RPMs and they're from Alsa.
Tried a Kubuntu Live CD this morning and had sound immediately! WTF???

I think there's an important lesson for us n00bs, boys & girls

ethics & whk: thank you for your assistance!
Old 09-09-2006, 05:47 PM   #7
Caesar Tjalbo
Registered: Aug 2006
Location: Enschede, The Netherlands
Distribution: sidux
Posts: 91

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 16
Although I found Kubuntu a sweetheart I couldn't resist messing again with CentOS. I solved the soundproblem, did 2 things (at the same time, one of them may not be necessary but I can be asked to sort that out: the damn mother is working now.):
1- /alsa-driver-X.X.X/include/adriver.h
commented line 248, it looks now like this (shown are lines 247, 248 & 249):
/*typedef unsigned __nocast gfp_t;*/
2- compile driver
./configure --with-cards=emu10k1x --with-card-options=all --with-redhat=yes --with-sequencer=yes;make;make install;make clean
In retrospect this "--with-redhat=yes" might have been sufficient, perhaps I'll try that at some point. The hack in adriver.h is dodgy as my kernel is 2.6.9-42.0.2.EL.

modprobe snd-emu10k1x worked, I had system sounds in KDE after unmuting and finetuning the channels. The only response of the mediaplayers that come on the install CD was still silence (for Ogg files, when trying to play an mp3 it pops up a message saying that format is disabled by RedHat). 'Audio Player' (XMMS) finally gave me sound and downloading Kaffeine finished my sound troubles on CentOS.


alsa, driver, sound, soundblaster

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