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Old 03-11-2004, 02:33 AM   #1
digital vortex
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SB Live 5.1 - loud background noise from center channel (digital/analog out)

Hello people,

I've done quite a bit of googling and could not find anyone else who had my hardware and particular problem.

Background Information: My SB Live 5.1 works, but I get this really annoying background/static noise from the center speaker. The noise is only generated when sources generate a sound event (i have no noise from this speaker/channel when no application is generating sound). I had this problem using the emu10k1 sourceforge drivers and kernel 2.4.x, so I upgraded to kernel 2.6.3 to see if using ALSA would solve the issue.

The upgrade did not.

I played with the numerous sliders in alsamixer, but none could alleviate the noise. The noise only goes away when I physically unplug the line coming out of digital output on the card.

From my searches on this forum, it seems no one else has had this problem. Anyone have any ideas on what is wrong?

Actually, I can't get any sound EXCEPT for this noise from the center speaker. I suppose the next question to ask is how to enable output from the center speaker, assuming I can get the noise to go away.

here's my lspci output:
00:00.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-760 MP [IGD4-2P] System Controller (rev 11)
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-760 MP [IGD4-2P] AGP Bridge
00:07.0 ISA bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-766 [ViperPlus] ISA (rev 02)
00:07.1 IDE interface: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-766 [ViperPlus] IDE (rev 01)
00:07.3 Bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-766 [ViperPlus] ACPI (rev 01)
00:0b.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL-8139/8139C/8139C+ (rev 10)
00:0c.0 Multimedia audio controller: Creative Labs SB Live! EMU10k1 (rev 07)
00:0c.1 Input device controller: Creative Labs SB Live! MIDI/Game Port (rev 07)
01:05.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation NV25 [GeForce4 Ti 4200] (rev a2)
and here's my lsmod output:
nvidia               2071656  12
snd_pcm_oss            50308  0
snd_mixer_oss          18240  2 snd_pcm_oss
agpgart                27532  0
Maybe this is truly a hardware issue and my card is funky?

Thank you in advance.
Old 03-11-2004, 09:35 AM   #2
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did you install the emu-tools and edit the emu-script properly..........
I've been using that emu10k1 driver with my SB live 5.1 card for 2 years now with no problems, my card is Digital output only, and since ALSA makes my card sound like crap, I won't use ALSA at all.

That emu10k1 driver is "Open Source" , so you can edit it's source code to make it work for your system, I modified the Makefile and a couple C-headers so the output sounds best for my box, I have 2 sets of Boston Acoustics 735 speakers hooked to my card( 2 sub woofers and 4 satellites.)
Old 03-11-2004, 12:21 PM   #3
digital vortex
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I did install emu-tools, and I did run the default emu-script.

But, no, I did not edit the emu-script file.

I'll play with that now. I haven't yet looked at the file, but can you provide some suggestions on what changes I should make?

I'm assuming that I can't use both ALSA and the open source emu-10k1 drivers at the same time. Do I deactivate ALSA by removing the executable permissions on /etc/rc.d/rc.alsa? (as in, chmod -x rc.alsa)

By the way, I'm running Slack 9.1 and using the Klipsch ProMedia 5.1 Ultras.


Last edited by digital vortex; 03-11-2004 at 12:37 PM.
Old 03-11-2004, 01:01 PM   #4
digital vortex
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So I was hesitant to disturb my Windoze box, for I finally had it setup as my multimedia machine.

But I was skeptical that the ALSA drivers were inherently crappy, so I popped my Audigy into my Slack box.

Everything worked perfect. Noise is gone, center channel works.

Come to think of it, I used to have the SB Live 5.1 in my Windows box, but I couldn't get the center channel to work with that setup either.

Oh well, I think I'm just going to leave my Audigy in my Slack box now. I just have to get the Dee3 Winamp plugin working with XMMS.

It's time to disturb the neighbors.

Thank you for your help.
Old 05-19-2004, 01:56 AM   #5
Registered: Jan 2003
Location: Ballston Lake, NY
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I figured out how to fix this... it has to do with the alsamixer.. I stumbled around for hours watching ren and stimpy and doing this, and after a while I got it.. Theres a setting in alsamixer called "SB Live Analog/Digital Output Jack" You need to highlight this and hit "m" which turns this feature OFF... I now get sound from the center speaker and NO HISSING!!


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