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Hi. I'm having an incredibly difficult time trying to get sound to work on my SuSE box. For weeks I've been running with no speakers, and I finally just got ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Newbie
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    New York
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    150

    No surround sound on VIA8237 with Alsa


    Hi. I'm having an incredibly difficult time trying to get sound to work on my SuSE box. For weeks I've been running with no speakers, and I finally just got a 6-channel speaker set. After some tinkering, I've managed to get it to behave like an overdecorated stereo set, and can get no further. I have a VIA8237 onboard sound card, and have made sure that all channels are unmuted in a mixer, and that the options "Line-in AS Surround" and "Mic as Center/LFE" are enabled. When I toggle the latter, I can actually hear the base speaker thump as if it's being turned off (or on?).

    When I try to configure the card in YaST, I get the following message:
    Code:
    An error occurred during the installation of
    VT8233/A/8235/8237 AC97 Audio Controller
    The kernel module snd-via82xx for sound support could not be loaded.  This can be caused by incorrect module parameters, including invalid IO or IRQ parameters.
    Yet the module is already loaded if I lsmod.

    If I try to play a higher-channel sample in xmms, I'm told in the console:
    Code:
    ** WARNING **: Input has 6 channels, soundcard uses 2 channels
    No conversion is available
    Can anyone shed some light on this?


    [Update] I substituted one xmms warning for another by instructing it to use the alsa driver in the preference page. Now I get
    Code:
    ALSA lib pcm_hw.c:509:(snd_pcm_hw_hwsync) SNDRV_PCM_IOCTL_HWSYNC failed: File descriptor in bad state
    Also, I took a look at /proc/asound and found
    Code:
    localhost:/proc/asound/card0 # ls
    .  ..  codec97#0  id  oss_mixer  pcm0c  pcm0p  pcm1c  pcm1p  via82xx
    The fact that there are only two pcm devices further suggests that the darn thing just isn't set up at the driver level for 6 channels.


    From this informative page:
    Q: You can hear stereo sound from the front speakers, but not from the other speakers
    A: The default ALSA output virtual device is 2 channel only. In order to hear sound on more than two speakers you need to use the name of a virtual device that supports more than two channels.
    These virtual device names begin with surround; the most commonly used are surround40 and surround51. To get a full list of those defined for your card run:
    aplay -L 2>&1 | egrep surround
    So of course I ran
    Code:
    jonny@localhost:~> aplay -L 2>&1 | egrep surround
    surround40 'cards.pcm.surround40'
    surround41 'cards.pcm.surround41'
    surround50 'cards.pcm.surround50'
    surround51 'cards.pcm.surround51'
    surround71 'cards.pcm.surround71'
    but I still have no idea what this means. Obviously these aren't "/dev"-style device names, and I don't know how to specify them over the default.


    [Update]
    I found a wav called chan-id that consists of 6 alternately playing channels. The command "aplay -Dplug:surround51 chan-id.wav", successfully plays on all the speakers. If I open this wav using xmms, the first two (front left and right, the standard stereo output) work, but the rest of the wav is silent.
    \"Nifty News Fifty: When news breaks, we give you the pieces.\" - Sluggy Freelance

  2. #2
    Linux Newbie
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    New York
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    150
    Nevermind, this is mostly solved.

    In kcontrol, I set up the system to duplicate front stereo to the back stereo by default, by overriding the sound device to "plug:ch51dup", and creating an asound.conf that included these entries. In xmms, I figured out how to select alsa pcm names, and this enabled me to play samples in 6 channel or duplicated-stereo mode. Right now I'm working on configuring the default pcm to point to ch51dup.

    The only part I'm still unsure of is whether or not kaffeine is failing to play surround sound CDs or if my CDs are not recorded for anything above stereo. *shrug*
    \"Nifty News Fifty: When news breaks, we give you the pieces.\" - Sluggy Freelance

  3. #3
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    11
    Can you give the steps to replicate front to back... like "as root type kcontrol, click this btn, that btn" (I have a weird situation where the surround speaker jack works but the main does not).

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