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Thread: Which subsystems do I need to get sound ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Beans
    14

    Which subsystems do I need to get sound ?

    Hello !

    I am fumbling around the whole day, to make me get some sound.
    I have found numerous threads and threads about this, but I do
    not understand what I would need at all ! I am looking for
    something like description, how which layers are effected and what
    I would to have to install.

    I've heard of alsa, but then, I heard, one would no longer need
    this today ... and so on.

    I just tried to install audacity - which formally worked - but no
    sound. So I feel the packaging in ubuntu is just wrong. Audacity is here now, but there seems to be a lot of missings ..

    I have several machines, hardware and under VBox. All my
    debian machines have sound out of the box, but not one
    of my ubuntu machines [the drivers are seen by lspci].
    I started installing ubuntu 12.04 LTS [server], because, I
    dont want to be overflooded with packages ... but this
    way, nothing works. Starting the ubuntu desktop version,
    I get the sound.

    So: What would I need ?? Depper understand of the
    subsystems and their relationships would be great too.

    Any help would be really great !

    Thanks anyway,
    ++mabra

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Uppsala, Sweden
    Beans
    2,181
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal

    Re: Which subsystems do I need to get sound ?

    The only thing you really need is alsa. Since alsa is part of the kernel, you should already have it, even on the server install.
    Just to make sure you have all the alsa configuration files and start scripts, check that you have the following packages installed:
    alsa-base
    alsa-utils
    libasound2
    libasound2-plugins

    To test your sound, run this to see which output devices your sound card has:
    Code:
    aplay -L
    it will give you a list containing lines similar to these:
    Code:
    default
        Playback/recording through the PulseAudio sound server
    sysdefault:CARD=Intel
        HDA Intel, ALC888 Analog
        Default Audio Device
    front:CARD=Intel,DEV=0
        HDA Intel, ALC888 Analog
        Front speakers
    surround40:CARD=Intel,DEV=0
        HDA Intel, ALC888 Analog
        4.0 Surround output to Front and Rear speakers
    surround41:CARD=Intel,DEV=0
        HDA Intel, ALC888 Analog
        4.1 Surround output to Front, Rear and Subwoofer speakers
    surround50:CARD=Intel,DEV=0
        HDA Intel, ALC888 Analog
        5.0 Surround output to Front, Center and Rear speakers
    surround51:CARD=Intel,DEV=0
        HDA Intel, ALC888 Analog
        5.1 Surround output to Front, Center, Rear and Subwoofer speakers
    surround71:CARD=Intel,DEV=0
        HDA Intel, ALC888 Analog
        7.1 Surround output to Front, Center, Side, Rear and Woofer speakers
    iec958:CARD=Intel,DEV=0
        HDA Intel, ALC888 Digital
        IEC958 (S/PDIF) Digital Audio Output
    dmix:CARD=Intel,DEV=0
        HDA Intel, ALC888 Analog
        Direct sample mixing device
    dmix:CARD=Intel,DEV=1
        HDA Intel, ALC888 Digital
        Direct sample mixing device
    dsnoop:CARD=Intel,DEV=0
        HDA Intel, ALC888 Analog
        Direct sample snooping device
    dsnoop:CARD=Intel,DEV=1
        HDA Intel, ALC888 Digital
        Direct sample snooping device
    hw:CARD=Intel,DEV=0
        HDA Intel, ALC888 Analog
        Direct hardware device without any conversions
    hw:CARD=Intel,DEV=1
        HDA Intel, ALC888 Digital
        Direct hardware device without any conversions
    plughw:CARD=Intel,DEV=0
        HDA Intel, ALC888 Analog
        Hardware device with all software conversions
    plughw:CARD=Intel,DEV=1
        HDA Intel, ALC888 Digital
        Hardware device with all software conversions
    To play a speaker test through my digital output (highlighted in blue above) I can run this command:
    Code:
    speaker-test -Diec958:Intel -c2 -twav
    And for one of the analog outputs (the one highlighted in red above):
    Code:
    speaker-test -Dsurround71:Intel -c8 -twav
    The number after the -c is the number of channels, i.e 2 for stereo, 6 for 5.1 surround and 8 for 7.1 surround. Note that digital outputs can only handle two channels.


    The ubuntu desktop uses pulseaudio as sound server on top of alsa, which means all applications are set to use pulseaudio as default. In the server version you'll probably need to set your applications to use alsa instead.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Beans
    14

    Re: Which subsystems do I need to get sound ?

    Hi !

    Much thanks for your investigation.

    The brought me really a step forward. The packages you mentioned, were
    not on the box [no alsa/tools, but the libs!].

    After I installed them, I've got "device not found error" in your given 'speaker-test' command, so I made more googlisme ...
    Then I found, that the user should be in the sound group.
    Does'nt work.
    Boot, works!

    Astoungly your sample about 'iec956', does not work. I have 4.0-7.1 and they
    work partially [never hear rear speakers though !].
    But, what is more strange, is, that no apps make sound. I went back
    to audacity and see the output meter, but don't hear sound.
    The LXDE's media play has only grey controls [not to see why, but
    something like this usually can mean, that some setting/devices
    are not present].
    I went to the webbrowser and stepped to youtube and there is no
    sound. Then I found the mixer apps and enhanced the levels and
    SOME sound is there: Only from the browser. Audacity makes no
    sound and the LXMusic's sound is missing too.

    The last time, I had major problems with sound, were in Windows 98 ....

    I found alsa-tools-gui, set this up, but none of the
    new apps were able to start. Looks like Gnome apps cannot
    work in LXDE.

    Any ideas??

    Best regards,
    ++mabra

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Beans
    14

    Re: Which subsystems do I need to get sound ?

    Hi !

    Just a note ....

    I just removed LXDE* and setup Gnome ....
    With an SSD a task about 5 minutes....
    Starting Audacity and open the file and the sound is
    there. I never trusted UBuntu and I am looking right ....

    Do not do, what to do now.

    Gnome is that catastrophical and UBuntu or LXDE is incompetent ....

    Welcome to a deeper Linux experience. I spent the last DAYS with
    a lot of ....

    br,
    ++mabra

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Beans
    39

    Re: Which subsystems do I need to get sound ?

    In ubuntu sound works automatically. If it does not, most probably your hardware may be faulty. There is no need of installing anything special

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Beans
    14

    Re: Which subsystems do I need to get sound ?

    Hi !

    Have you read the beginning end the steps of this thread ??

    Just now installed debian (wheezy) on that box and ALL problems,
    even these, I saw for XLDE under UBuntu, are GONE.

    But thanks anyway!

    br,
    ++mabra

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Beans
    14

    Re: Which subsystems do I need to get sound ?

    Hi !

    Solved - at least to a minimum

    Thanks for jocko, who brought me into the right
    direction. With more googlisme, I found to additionally
    use the following steps:

    - alsactl init
    - make the 'deaf' users member of the audio group

    As I got 'file not found' in speakertest, I thought to
    use root, eceptionally ... wrong: root is not per default
    in this group.

    And at some point, a boot seems to be required.

    BTW: Just 'speaker-test', without args, is a good hint, because
    you'll not to have to fumble with typos or understand the details
    of a given hardware/driver to select.

    br,
    ++mabra

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