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Old 05-17-2003, 02:35 PM   #1
docGonzo2000
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Alsa vs. Linus?


I've been scouring the web and these forums for a while, and have not found an answer to my question:

Why Alsa? What is the advantage to installing the Alsa drivers as opposed to the native Linux kernel drivers? I have tried, on Slack 9, to get my EMU10k1 working well under the included 2.4.20 kernel, have even compiled support directly into the kernel. I eventually had to go back to the 2.4.18 kernel supplied with Slack 8.1 to get the quality of sound that I wanted. 2.4.20 was giving me all kinds of pops and delays, and was making movie playback impossible due to the lag between the sound card and the video playback.

I was wondering if I should try the Alsa drivers, and if they are any better. The alsa web site kinda sucks. They don't really say why it's better than the kernel support. I appreciate any insight any of you can give me.
 
Old 05-17-2003, 06:35 PM   #2
Excalibur
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It has been my experience that for a working sound system, it doesn't make any real difference. Unless perhaps a particular card might have some special options with the alsa drivers. But whatever driver is used, the sound chip is still the same. A poor audio chip will still sound poor regardless of the drivers. I think there may also be some issues like alsa might allow multiple sound events without locking the second program if you enable the system sounds where OSS drivers does not allow it.

For non-operational sound system, then alsa may provide newer and broader support than the kernel drivers. For some sound systems, like what be on an adapter card and the same chip also used as an intgrated solution the kernel drivers may not work correctly for the implementation and alsa may be the only real solution available.

Many of the distros also use alsa drivers because it is only module based. If the kernel sound drivers are left off, the distro has more flexibility in configuring the sound from automated scripts the way they desire. Upgrading sound drivers and special patches are also easier to implement.

Alsa drivers also have a disadvantage though, that if you change your kernel then they have to be rebuilt against the new kernel and reinstalled separately from the kernel. That adds additional complexity to the building and upgrading the kernel.

I have used both and have been equally pleased with the results. My current primary system though uses the Creative Extigy external device through the USB port. I have only found reliable support with the use of a third party driver written by Richard Cochran.

Perhaps you will find my views to be of some value.
 
Old 05-18-2003, 10:25 AM   #3
kater
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I haven't any problems or glitches with my SB 512PCI (emu10k1) on Slackware 8.1 and 9.0.
 
Old 05-18-2003, 11:01 AM   #4
Blek
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I used to have the ALSA driver under 2.4.18, but when i switched to 2.4.20 and tried to recompile the driver, it gave some failed dependency in snd.o and as a result, I don't have any sound currently...
 
Old 05-22-2003, 07:26 PM   #5
docGonzo2000
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Hmm... I'm running the Alsa drivers now, and there seem to be some nice features. However, I keep having to set the levels and unmute stuff every time I reboot. If anybody knows how to save the sound levels, I would love to hear it.

Also, I just put all of the alsa drivers into rc.modules to have them loaded at boot time. I'm wondering if it might be better to have some kind of other separate script to start it up. The drivers include a script, but it's built for System V init scripts, not BSD style. Any help?

Otherwise, yes, the sound is about the same either way. I still can't run the 2.4.20 kernel without sound card drift in xine, and the sound is horrible regardless of Alsa or the native emu10k1 drivers. I must say, I'm kind of confused as to why this would be a problem. Is it the soundcore module, maybe?
 
Old 05-22-2003, 07:51 PM   #6
Tinkster
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Quote:
However, I keep having to set the levels and unmute stuff every time I reboot. If anybody knows how to save the sound levels, I would love to hear it.
I don't use ALSA myself, thus have no experience
with ALSA's mixer ... but if you were using the oss
sound compatibility driver you could unmute/adjust
using rexima from rc.local...

Cheers,
Tink

Last edited by Tinkster; 05-22-2003 at 07:53 PM.
 
Old 05-23-2003, 04:44 AM   #7
webtoe
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For some cards alsa is good for the amount of support, however, for Creative cards, Ive found that their drivers are better than either the other two options. I get the same slow down that you're experiencing using alsa when I'm performing several tasks at once and listening to music. I never had the same sort of problems (at least not to the same degree). The creative drivers also apparently have some features enabled that aren't availible in the windows drivers.

Alsa is supposed to be integrated into the kernel at some point. One of their benefits according to this site : http://www.djcj.org/LAU/guide/index.php is the ability to do low latency stuff with it (and some extra programs). i.e. sound production on it.

HTH

Alex
 
Old 05-23-2003, 09:47 AM   #8
Ra_
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Quote:
Originally posted by docGonzo2000
Hmm... I'm running the Alsa drivers now, and there seem to be some nice features. However, I keep having to set the levels and unmute stuff every time I reboot. If anybody knows how to save the sound levels, I would love to hear it.

This is my etc/rc.d/rc.local:

#!/bin/sh
#
# /etc/rc.d/rc.local: Local system initialization script.
#
# Put any local setup commands in here:
/sbin/modprobe snd-cmipci
/sbin/modprobe snd-pcm-oss
/sbin/modprobe snd-seq-oss
/sbin/modprobe snd-mixer-oss
amixer set Master 90%
amixer set PCM 100% unmute
amixer set Aux 100% unmute
amixer set Mic 100%
amixer set Synth 100%
amixer set Line 100% unmute
amixer set CD 95% unmute
amixer set "PC Speaker" 100%


It works very well for me
 
  


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