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I've posted a mesasge here before about trying to move to ALSA to take advange of my new 5.1 speaker system since for my current setup(oss using emu10k1, and sound simply working with a 'modprobe emu10k1') a debian 2.6.8 kernel with a soundblaster live.
I was able to get booming sound out of my 5.1 speakers (not digital or anything), but I was basicly only able to control the volume out of the center speaker and the sub. Everything else was at some default level that no matter what mixer I played with I couldn't control (and I don't want to resort to using software controlled volume for EVERYTHING).
Frustrated, I nuked alsa and went back to using the OSS drivers, but as time passed I'm still not happy with the medocre stereo sound coming out.
How, praytell can I get full 5.1 sound with just oss? I really don't want to mess with alsa again, it was a module nightmare to me. Even if I have to buy that commerical OSS I'll be happy as long as someone can confirm something that works!!!
OSS does not support 4 channel or 5.1 output. ALSA is the only one that handles 5.1. Even if you are using 5.1, music CD are stereo (2 channel). You can use mplayer, xine, or video lan client to output 5.1 channels, but this is only for videos with 5.1 channel encoded. You have to read man for those programs. You may want to re-configure the kernel because I think you set something up wrong.
I switched from Creative Labs Soundblaster LIVE! to Turtle Beach Santa Cruz because the Soundblaster LIVE card added a lot of noise during 5.1 playback using mplayer. The Santa Cruz did not add any noise and was easier to control than the Soundblaster LIVE!. IMHO, the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz sounds much, much better than the Soundblaster LIVE!.